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Macquarie makes £1.6bn splash for 573MW wind farm

Using funds from the recently closed MEIF5, the Australian firm has made its third offshore wind investment and largest to date.

Macquarie Group has agreed a £1.6 billion ($2 billion; €1.9 billion) deal that will see it take a 50 percent stake in the 573MW Race Bank offshore wind farm in the UK.

The share will be acquired from the project’s developer, Danish wind titan DONG Energy. Both Macquarie Capital and Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5, which closed in September on €4 billion, contributed equity in equal proportions.

The £1.6 billion price tag will cover a commitment to fund 50 percent of the project’s capital expenditure, notably transmission assets. It included both equity and bank debt. Macquarie declined to disclose the names of the banks supporting it in this transaction.

The deal completes a process started last year by DONG to find a buyer for half of the project, as per its strategy to sell parts of its offshore wind projects to financial investors. According to Samuel Leopold, chief executive of wind power at the Danish company, DONG saw “a high level of interest from a number of potential investors” in the project.

The investment is Macquarie’s third in offshore wind. In January 2015 it paid Energie Baden-Württemberg €720 million for a 49.89 percent stake in the 288MW Baltic 2 project in Germany, a deal followed later that year by its acquisition of 25 percent of the UK’s 336MW Galloper wind farm.

The Race Bank project, which DONG paid Centrica £50 million for in December 2012, is in advanced stages of construction. It is set to be completed by 2018.