Babcock refinances Portuguese wind farms

The global investment and advisory firm has carried out a combined €1bn of refinancings of a portfolio of Enersis-owned wind farms and hydro plants in Portugal.

Babcock & Brown has carried out a combined €1 billion ($1.25 billion) refinancing of a portfolio of Portuguese wind farms and hydro power plants belonging to Enersis, a 2005 acquisition for the Australia-listed investment and advisory firm.
 
The refinancings are the largest ever in the Portuguese renewable energy sector and the largest wind project financing in Europe in 2006, according to Babcock & Brown.
 
A consortium of banks led by Banco Espírito Santo de Investimento, Caixa Banco de Investimento and Millennium bcp investimento have provided the capital for the refinancing of the hyrdo generation portfolio, with the same syndicate plus Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria underwriting the wind energy portfolio.
 
A spokesperson for Babcock & Brown declined to comment on how much was being returned from the refinancing to investors.
 
Babcock & Brown acquired Enersis in a €490 million transaction in December 2005, with debt financing provided by Banco Espirito Santo. The transaction included wind farm assets in France and Spain, as small investments in bio-fuel and wave technology projects, which were not part of the refinancing.
 
The 2005 investment was made from Babcock & Brown Wind Partners, a fund which raised $396 million through a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in October 2005, with a market capitalisation of $692 million.
 
The fund has also made investments in wind farms in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe, including Eifel Wind Farm in Germany and three wind farms in Fruges.
 
Other transactions in the wind energy sector this year include Bahrain-based investment firm Arcapita’s acquisition of Zephyr Investments, a joint venture with RWE Npower, which owns 19 wind farms across the UK; and Bridgepoint’s sale of wind farm developer CESA to Acciona for €1.47 billion.