Canada’s Caisse Buys Wind-Farm Stake From Dong for $1 Billion

La Caisse de Depot & Placement du Quebec bought a stake in the world’s biggest offshore wind farm for 644 million pounds ($1.06 billion) as it seeks the steady, long-term returns provided by the industry.

La Caisse, Canada’s second-largest pension fund, acquired half of Dong Energy A/S’s 50 percent stake in the London Array-1 venture off southern England, according to a statement today. Germany’s EON SE has 30 percent and Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. owns 20 percent in the 630-megawatt development.

Danish utility Dong has been selling stakes in projects, including its Anholt plant off Denmark and the Walney wind park in the Irish Sea, to fund further ventures offshore. Buyers, including a Japanese trading house and pension funds, have sought the assets for their stable returns and state support.

“We are investing in this project with a long-term horizon and expect to generate attractive returns for many years ahead,” Macky Tall, senior vice president of infrastructure at La Caisse, said in the statement. The accord includes a long-term transfer agreement for the power and green certificates arising from La Caisse’s share.

Dong, the biggest offshore-wind builder, has also divested stakes in a venture off Germany and Gunfleet Sands off southern England.

“Our strategy is to continuously enter into partnership agreements with industrial and financial partners,” Samuel Leupold, executive vice president at Dong Energy Wind Power, said in the statement. That allows the Fredericia-based company to “share the risk in our portfolio and attract capital to be able to continue to invest.”

Dong Role

Dong will continue supplying operations and maintenance services to London Array, in the outer Thames Estuary off the Kent coast southeast of London, it said. The deal is due to be completed in the first half of the year.

RBC Capital Markets acted as financial adviser to La Caisse, it said today.

Dong is also selling shares in itself as part of a restructuring announced in February last year to cut costs, reduce debt and bolster investments. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to buy an 18 percent stake in the utility for $1.5 billion, it said this month, sparking opposition in Denmark.

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