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German Offshore Wind Developer Bard Hires U.S. Bank for Sale

Bard Holding GmbH hired a U.S. investment bank to sell the company, a spokesman for the German offshore wind developer said.

“We are looking for some buyers,” Andreas Koelling said today by phone. Bard was founded in 2003 by Arngolt Bekker, who at age 76 has decided to sell the company, Koelling said. He declined to identify the U.S. bank involved in the sale.

The owners would sell 87.5 percent of Emden-based Bard, Koelling said, speaking from the company’s Bremen office. “We got some potential buyers from Europe and even from Southeast Asia.” The bank was appointed last week, he said.

The sale of the whole company including its units could be completed by the end of this year or in spring 2012, Koelling said. Bard heads a group of companies that seek to cover all stages of offshore wind development, including Bard Emden Energy GmbH, which makes rotor blades and components for turbines and assembles the machines themselves.

The group also comprises a project development and investment company for offshore wind farms as well as units for installation and turbine maintenance.

Bard said Aug. 29 that it sold its shares in one of its wind farms, the 600-megawatt Bard-Nederland project planned in the Dutch portion of the North Sea, to Typhoon Offshore BV, a unit of the Amsterdam clean-energy investment company Typhoon Capital BV, and Dutch energy provider HVC Groep. Bard will still supply turbines to the project.

Dutch Interest

“The main interest for the wind farm was Dutch so it was natural to sell it to our Dutch cooperation partners,” said Daniel Brickwell, sales director for Bard in the Netherlands.

The divestment and planned sale of Bard “ran in parallel,” he said today by phone. “Part of the transition process was to set up a new business plan and in this it was decided that we would only be active as a turbine supplier in the Netherlands, not turn-key.”

Typhoon Offshore now owns 85 percent and HVC the rest of the facility northeast of Schiermonnikoog island, said Michael van der Heijden, managing director of Typhoon Offshore. He declined to give financial information except that the sale was at market prices.

“It was always the plan that at financial close the entire wind farm would be placed with third-party equity investors,” he said. The project could cost as much as 2.5 billion euros ($3.6 billion). Typhoon is seeking about 50 percent in loans from a group of banks and is in “advanced” discussions, the executive said.

Building should start mid-2012 with first power by the end of 2013, he said. The project was awarded about 4.4 billion euros, the bulk of a Dutch government subsidy known as the “SDE” for offshore wind, in 2010.

“That the project is now in Dutch hands can play a role with respect to the allocation of the SDE rest budget subsidy,” Dirk Berkhout, a board member of Typhoon Offshore, said in a statement by Bard. Those funds could add 100 megawatts to the park, he said.

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