Investor consortium battles to save Electrawinds

DG Infra, Gimv, Fortino and PMV are looking to inject an additional €47.2m in the indebted Dutch renewables producer.

A group formed of Electrawinds’ main shareholders have submitted a joint investment proposal to the board of the company, with a view to pull it away from the brink of default.

The investor consortium, which comprises Belgian funds DG Infra + and Gimv-XL as well as Dutch investor PMV and Fortino, are offering to inject a combined €47.2 million in the renewable energy business.

The proceeds would be used to deleverage the company and restore its relationship with suppliers, customers and creditors, which suffered after the company narrowly avoided default during the first half of the year.

The financial restructuring would be carried out alongside a reshuffle of Electrawinds’ board of directors and the appointment of a new CEO. The arrangement would also include a bridge financing ready to be deployed at very short notice, provided by the consortium in order to serve the company’s immediate liquidity needs.

Electrawinds ran into financial troubles towards the end of 2012, when its annual report noted that a capital increase of €100 million and the successful refinancing of its existing debt load were “crucial to the survival of Electrawinds and the further development of the business.” It then withdrew from Vleemo, the developer behind the largest onshore wind farm in Belgium, by selling off its 25 percent stake in the business to Belgian power producer Aspiravi.

The equity shortfall had reportedly grown by €150 million by mid-2013, after the company closely avoided default thanks to a bridging loan from the Flemish Energy Holding and the Federal Holding Company. Repayment of the loans is due by mid-December this year.

Electrawinds has since undertaken an extensive divestment programme, aimed at using the proceeds from sales of non-core assets to reduce leverage and support current operations. The company sold a 6.68 megawatts (MW) solar portfolio to Inframan, a joint venture between Gimv and Belgian lender Belfius, for €19.1 million last October.

Electrawinds was formed in 2012 through the merger of European CleanTech 1 SE and Electrawinds NV, two Benelux-based renewables companies. It is jointly owned by its founders and a cluster of institutional investors, with a 16 percent free float traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

In its August interim results, Electrawinds posted a net loss of €38.4 million for the first six months of its financial year. Total operating revenues, meanwhile, increased 26 percent to €63.9 million.