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BKW closes €137m Swissgrid stake acquisition

The utility has become Swissgrid’s largest owner after buying Alpiq’s 30% share in the business, in which pensions platform IST3 also has an indirect holding.

Swiss utility BKW has sealed its acquisition of power producer Alpiq’s 30.3 percent holding in grid operator Swissgrid in a deal worth SFr 146 million ($149.2 million; €137 million).

The transaction makes BKW the largest shareholder of Swissgrid with a 37 percent stake, up from the 10.8 percent holding it previously owned. As part of the deal, BKW also sold 4.4 percent of its Swissgrid holding to investment firm SISERO.

“This stake in Swissgrid is of considerable strategic importance to BKW as it will generate stable revenues – a real asset for an energy and infrastructure services provider like BKW in today's climate,” BKW chief executive Suzanne Thoma said.

For Swiss energy group Alpiq, the deal concludes a process to divest its interest in Swissgrid, which it has gradually sold down in recent years. In January last year, it moved its Swissgrid shareholdings into a subsidiary which received a SFr 288 million investment from investment platform IST3 Infrastructure Global for a 49.9 percent equity stake. The transaction was the IST3’s first after closing in June 2014 on SFr 298 million.

Earlier this week, BKW agreed to buy four wind farms in France from French investment firm Samfi Invest Group. The four projects – one of which is operational – have a combined capacity of 49MW. The deal also includes an option to buy a fifth wind farm. The company’s wind portfolio now stands at 440MW across central Europe and Norway.