Infigen to Sell German Wind-Energy Assets, Scrap Dividends

Infigen Energy, an Australian developer of renewable-energy projects, agreed to sell its German wind-power assets for 154.6 million euros ($222 million) to a European fund that it didn’t identify.

The wind-farm developer is awaiting German regulatory approval that may take 30 days, Infigen said today in a statement. The company said it plans to use the proceeds to cut debt and will provide details on the sale of the assets, which have a capacity of 128.7 megawatts, when the deal is completed.

Infigen scrapped a plan in April 2010 to sell the German assets and later that month abandoned an effort to dispose of its U.S. wind-energy business after failing to attract high enough bids. The Sydney-based company, formerly known as Babcock & Brown Wind Partners, is focusing on Australian wind-power projects as the government moves toward a target of generating 20 percent of the nation’s power from renewable sources by 2020.

“This gives them some further cash buffer, so that’s a positive,” John Hirjee, a Melbourne-based analyst at Deutsche Bank AG, said by telephone. “But the key question is what’s happening with the U.S. strategy and whether they will revisit a sale of that asset as well.”

Deutsche Bank previously estimated the German assets were worth about A$160 million ($170 million), Hirjee said.

The renewable-energy developer, whose shares have dropped almost 60 percent in Sydney in the past 12 months, won’t pay dividends in the years ending in June 2012 and June 2013 to help fund expansion in Australia, Infigen said in a separate statement today. The company will give an update on future distributions before the end of 2013, according to the statement.

Woodlawn Project

While the company would consider bidders for the U.S. assets, there’s no “formal” effort to sell them, Richard Farrell, the company’s investor relations manager, said by phone.

Infigen said today it still expects to complete the Woodlawn wind farm by the end of this year. The energy generated by the project could power 23,000 homes and help New South Wales state meet rising electricity demand, according to the company.

Shares of Infigen rose 7.6 percent to 35.5 Australian cents at the 4:10 p.m. close in Sydney, the most since April 21. That compared with a 0.5 percent increase in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index. Infigen closed at 86.5 cents on June 15 of last year.

The company is also competing for funding from Australia’s A$1.5 billion solar power initiative. Infigen and Suntech Power Holdings Co. of China, which have jointly proposed a venture using photovoltaic panels to turn sunlight into power, are among companies picked to advance in the contest for funds.

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