- Three Gorges Corp., China Guodian among bidders for Meerwind
- German offshore wind farms could fetch about 1.6 billion euros
China Three Gorges Corp., the nation’s largest hydropower operator, and state-owned electricity supplier China Guodian Corp. are among bidders for Blackstone Group LP’s German offshore wind farms amid a surge in Chinese appetite for European assets, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Chinese companies are in the second round of an auction to sell the Meerwind project, which could be valued at about 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion), according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The wind farm has also attracted interest from suitors including Borealis Infrastructure and Munich Re’s MEAG asset-management arm, one of the people said.
Chinese companies have already agreed to spend more than $77 billion on foreign deals this year as economic growth slows and the government encourages acquisitions. Buyers are going after agriculture, energy and consumer assets, putting dealmaking on track to break records for the third year in a row, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The next round of bids are due in April, one of the people said. Spokesmen for Blackstone, Borealis and MEAG declined to comment. Guodian and Three Gorges didn’t immediately respond to faxed questions seeking comment.
President Xi Jinping has been pushing for more investment in non-fossil fuels. China was the world’s biggest investor in renewable energy last year with $110.5 billion of spending, almost double the amount of U.S. investment, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The 1.2 billion-euro Meerwind project is located in the North Sea, 23 kilometers (14 miles) from the German island of Helgoland. Blackstone holds 80 percent of Meerwind’s owner, WindMW GmbH, while German wind project developer Windland Energieerzeugungs GmbH has the remainder.
The wind farm’s 80 turbines can produce a combined 288 megawatts, or enough electricity for about 360,000 households, according to WindMW’s website.
China Three Gorges signed a memorandum of understanding in 2013 to buy 49 percent of EDP-Energias de Portugal SA’s wind venture Eneop. EDP agreed to sell Brazilian wind farms to the Chinese company in 2014 for $138 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show.