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Impax Buys 2 Finnish Wind Farms From Fortum With Plans for More

Impax Asset Management Group Plc, a London-based investor overseeing about $3.7 billion, bought two wind farms in northern Finland from Fortum Oyj, entering a market where it expects to make further acquisitions.

Impax bought the farms from Fortum Oyj, Finland’s biggest utility, and state-run land and water manager Metsahallitus, through its 330 million-euro ($436 million) New Energy Investors II fund, it said today in an e-mailed statement without giving a price. Impax will raise project finance for the farm after the transaction, expected to be completed in the first quarter.

“Given the early stage of the Finnish wind market, we see this portfolio as an excellent foundation asset for our wind investment program in the region,” Impax Managing Director Daniel von Preyss said. “This is a key market for Impax and we target follow-on acquisitions as the market continues to grow.”

Impax said in July it was in talks to buy Finnish farms to gain an “early mover opportunity.” The government plans to raise consumption of wind power to 6 percent of total demand by 2020, or about 6 terawatt-hours, from about 1 percent now.

The wind farms in the Lapland region are at a pre-construction stage and the sellers will complete the process of gaining permissions for the projects. The first will comprise 17 turbines and a capacity of 50 megawatts and the second will be made up of 8 to 10 turbines totaling about 25 megawatts.

Finland had 288 megawatts of installed wind capacity at the end of 2012, trailing Germany with 31,308 megawatts and Spain with 22,796, according to the European Wind Energy Association. Onshore wind generators in Finland receive feed-in tariffs, or premium payments, of about 105 euros a megawatt-hour.

Investors in Impax’s fund, which closed in 2011, include the European Investment Bank and Finnish State Pension Fund.

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