Marguerite notches first investment

The EU-focused infrastructure fund manager has acquired a stake in the owner and operator of a large offshore Belgian wind project. The deal is the first from Marguerite’s debut fund, which posted a €710m first close in March 2010 and is targeting €1.5bn.

The Marguerite Fund (Marguerite), the fund manager focused on greenfield investments in the European Union, has acquired a stake in C-Power, the owner and operator of the 325-megawatt (MW) Thornton Bank offshore wind project in Belgium. The project is expected to contribute 10 percent of Belgium’s target to produce 13 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Marguerite has acquired its stake from EDF Energies Nouvelles, the French renewable energy firm, which divested 49.9 percent of its 18.3 percent interest in C-Power. The amount paid for the stake is undisclosed. 

C-Power was established to develop, construct and operate Thornton Bank, which is located in the North Sea, 30 kilometres off the Belgian coast. In November 2010, it closed an initial €1.3 billion financing. The second and third phases of the project will consist of the installation and commissioning of 48 wind turbines, the laying of infield cables and a second export cable, as well as the installation of an offshore high-voltage substation, adding 295MW.

Including existing operational capacity of 30MW, Thornton Bank will ultimately have a capacity of 325MW and provide enough power for 600,000 inhabitants.

“From an investor perspective, we believe offshore wind is attractive as it offers sizable investment opportunities with stable cash flows and returns that are not correlated to economic cycles,” said Nicolas Merigo, chief executive of Marguerite, in a statement.  

The investment is the first for Marguerite, the Luxembourg-based fund manager which launched its 2020 European Fund for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure in 2010. The fund posted a first close on €710 million in March last year backed by Caisse des Depots et Consignations, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, the European Investment Bank, Instituto de Credito Oficial, KfW and PKO Bank Polski. The firm is targeting a €1.5 billion final close in 2012.

In September, Infrastructure Investor reported that Marguerite had lodged a bid for a €1.36 billion public-private partnership to build, operate and maintain a stretch of Spain’s A66 highway, known as Autovia de la Plata. The firm was part of a consortium including Spanish construction companies FCC, Sacyr and COMSA.