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Aquila cosies up to energy companies

The fund manager has been mandated by CEZ Group to build a ‘triple-digit million euro’ wind portfolio just after co-investing with energy firms in a Norwegian wind park.

German asset manager Aquila Capital has been mandated by the Czech Republic’s CEZ Group to build a “triple-digit million euro” German wind portfolio, Aquila said.

CEZ, which Aquila describes as one of the 10 largest energy suppliers in Europe, already has a 600-megawatt (MW) wind portfolio, but is keen to expand its renewable energy footprint. “Our strategy focuses on renewable energy investments and on the expansion of decentralised energy generation. Investments in the Czech Republic’s neighbouring countries are of particular interest to us and we see great potential in the German market,” said CEZ board member Tomas Pleskac.

The partners have already agreed on a first deal, which they have not disclosed. Aquila chief executive and co-founder Roman Rosslenbroich argued that under Germany’s new Renewable Energies Act, which will be implemented in 2017,” close partnerships between strategic and financial investors will increasingly become a key success factor”.

But Aquila’s strategy of partnering with energy companies goes beyond Germany. Just before 2015 ended, the German fund manager bought a majority stake in Norway’s largest wind park – the 110MW Midtfjellet project – with three Norwegian energy companies. The seller, for an undisclosed amount, was Norwegian utility Energiselskapet Buskerud.

In addition to a 500MW wind track record, Aquila is also very active in the European hydropower sector. Last November, the company closed its third hydropower deal in 18 months with the acquisition of Norwegian small-scale hydropower plant operator Smakraft.

Aquila did not specify which pockets of capital it used to acquire Smakraft, but it is likely the deal was funded from its recently launched European hydropower vehicle and its €500 million hydropower joint venture with Dutch pension manager APG. The fund, which is targeting an undisclosed amount, is looking to invest in five to 10 hydro generating portfolios worth around €1 billion.

To date, Aquila has clinched some €2.8 billion in renewable energy deals for its institutional investor base.

This article was first published on Low Carbon Energy Investor, Infrastructure Investor’s sister publication focused on global energy transition markets.