Chinese Suitors Said to Consider Bids for Origin’s Wind Farm

  • CGN, Datang and Goldwind among firms to express interest
  • China Guodian considers joint bid with Envision Energy

Origin Energy Ltd., the Sydney-based energy producer and retailer, has received expressions of interest from at least five Chinese suitors for its sale of an Australian wind farm project, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The asset attracted state-owned firms China General Nuclear Power Group, China Datang Corp. and China Guodian Corp., the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Golden Concord Holdings Ltd. and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. have also expressed interest, said the people. First-rounds bids are expected at the end of next month, they said.

A sale of Origin’s planned Stockyard Hill project would add to the recent surge of interest in alternative energy in the Asia-Pacific region. Chinese companies have announced at least $5.5 billion of overseas acquisitions in the sector during the past 12 months, compared with $808 million in the previous period, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Mainland China firms are exploring wind-power assets as President Xi Jinping seeks to spur national investment in non-fossil fuels to cut pollution. Beijing-based State Power Investment Corp. bought Australian renewable energy developer Pacific Hydro Pty in January, giving the company a platform for expanding abroad.

China Guodian is considering a joint bid with Shanghai-based Envision Energy, the people said. Buyers may have to commit about A$1 billion ($762 million) to the project, including the purchase price and construction costs, two of the people said.

Representatives for Origin, Goldwind and Guodian declined to comment, while representatives for CGN Power, Datang, Envision Energy and Golden Concord didn’t immediately answer calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Origin, whose debt ballooned in the years it took to build the A$25.9 billion Australia Pacific liquefied natural gas plant, has pledged spending cuts and suspended its dividend. It is among energy producers that are struggling from falling prices as demand weakens.

Stockyard Hill is located in Victoria state, near the city of Ballarat, according to the project’s website. A sale of the proposed wind farm will include an agreement for Origin to buy power from the new owner, people with the knowledge of the matter said last month.

Australia last year set a target of producing 33,000 gigawatt hours of electricity from renewable energy projects by 2020, a move that could boost the viability of wind and solar projects.

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