Theolia in Talks to Win Allies for 300 Million Euro Venture

Theolia SA, a French renewable power company, is in talks with candidates to join a venture with IWB Industrielle Werke Basel that will invest more than 300 million euros ($422 million) in wind farms, with deals expected in 2011.

“We will come out with our partners” before the end of the year, Theolia Chief Executive Officer Fady Khallouf said in a phone interview today while on a business trip in Germany. Theolia is in “very deep negotiations currently,” he said.

Theolia Utilities Investment Co., a vehicle for utilities and other power companies, will have 100 million euros of equity investment and raise the rest through debt for wind projects in France, Germany and Italy, Theolia said in a separate statement.

IWB Industrielle Werke Basel, based in the city, is taking 30 percent and Theolia an initial 70 percent, to be cut to 40 percent as it finds companies willing to join, Khallouf said.

“We’re an independent company not relying on an industrial group with a strong balance sheet, so either we go to the market and raise the capital needed or we have to find other solutions,” he said, adding that the money will be invested over three to five years.

New investments in clean energy may have risen threefold in the five years to 2012 as the U.S. and Europe curb emissions, John Llewellyn, a Nomura Securities Co. policy adviser, said this month. Spending may rise to $450 billion in 2012 from $150 billion in 2007, he said. Investors should spend across sectors including manufacturing, targeting low carbon emitters, he said.

Moroccan Tender

European nations are striving to boost renewable sources as they pursue the twin goals of curbing carbon emissions and replacing aging fossil-fuel power plants.

The Theolia venture will buy wind farms from its Aix-En-Provence-based parent, which will be paid to manage their development and operation, according to the statement.

Theolia expects to open bidding in autumn for a turbine supplier on the first 100-megawatt phase of a wind farm it’s developing in Morocco with the nation’s state-owned utility, Khallouf said. It will then seek banks for financing, he said.

“We’ve already had declarations coming from local and international banks willing to provide financing and strong interest also from multilateral institutions,” he said, declining to elaborate. The first phase of the project in Tetouan, near the city of Tangier, should enter service before June 2014, Khallouf said. The company aims to open bidding next year for the second phase, of 200 megawatts, he said.

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