Brookfield ‘committed’ to Ireland despite wind farm sale

Canadian firm expects to make €300m on sale of assets bought from Bord Gáis in 2014

Brookfield Renewable Partners’s sale of some of its wind farms is  believed to be at an advanced stage. Photograph: Ben Curtis/PA

Brookfield Renewable Partners’s sale of some of its wind farms is believed to be at an advanced stage. Photograph: Ben Curtis/PA

 

Brookfield Renewable Partners, the Canadian company that bought Bord Gáis’s wind farm assets in 2014, said it remains “absolutely committed” to Ireland even as it is in the process of selling almost a fifth of the portfolio, which is expected to achieve about €300 million.

The company hired BNP Paribas and Societe Generale last year to sell about 130 megawatts of wind farms in Munster, capable of supplying power to almost 70,000 homes. It is believed that the process is at an advanced stage, with no more than three bidders remaining out of an original field of up to 40 interested parties.

“These projects were part of the development pipeline that we secured during our acquisition of the 700-megawatt of Bord Gáis portfolio 2014,” Nicholas Goodman, the firm’s chief financial officer, said on an analysts call during the week after it reported quarterly results.

“We are advancing plans to sell these assets at compelling returns and recycle the capital into new growth opportunities.”

International bailout programme

Brookfield Renewable came together with UK power giant Centrica and ICON Infrastructure to buy the power generation and electricity and gas supply of Bord Gáis, since renamed Ervia, for €1.12 billion three years ago. The sale was agreed under the Republic’s international bailout programme.

The three buyers subsequently and carved up the business between them. Centrica took over the retail and gas-powered electricity operations, retaining the Bord Gáis Energy name, while UK-based ICON bought the Northern Ireland gas arm, Firmus.

Brookfield Renewable’s part of the deal amounted to about €700 million.

The Canadian company’s chief executive Sachin Shah said that it remains “absolutely committed” to the Irish and Scottish markets, where it has a total of almost 2,000 megawatts of either assets either in operation or development.

“We think it’s a great place to invest – Ireland in particular, because we have an interconnector that allows us to sell power into the UK,” said Mr Shah.

Opportunistic

“It’s a market that we find very, very attractive. Selling 130 megawatts is really just being opportunistic in this environment to see if we could secure some value to continue to realise proceeds and recycle that capital back into further growth in the region.”

A spokesman for Brookfield Renewable declined to comment on the current stage of the sale process.

Meanwhile, in September, Brookfield Renewable bought a 19-megawatt wind development project in Ireland in an €8 million deal.

Elsewhere in the sector, China General Nuclear Power (CGN) pushed into the Irish market last year when it acquired 14 wind farms with capacity for 230 megawatts from Gaelectric in December.