Statkraft sells 49% stake in UK onshore wind portfolio to Chinese

Channels: Corporate, Equity, Renewables

Companies: Statkraft, Gingko Tree Investment, Veolia

People: Jon Brandsar

Norwegian power firm Statkraft has sold a 49% stake in its UK onshore wind portfolio to a firm that helps invest China's foreign exchange reserves.

The wind farms:

  • Alltwalis Wind Farm: 10 turbines, 23MW, north of Carmarthen in Wales, operational since 2009.
  • Baillie Wind Farm: 21 turbines, 52.5MW, near Thurso, North Scotland, operational since 2013. 20% of the wind farm remain owned by local partners.
  • Berry Burn Wind Farm: 29 turbines, 66.7MW, located near Inverness in the North of Scotland, operational since 2014.

Beijing-based Gingko Tree Investment has agreed to buy for an undisclosed sum stakes in three operational wind farms – Alltwalis in Wales, and Baillie and Berry Burn in Scotland.

The three farms, which have a combined total of 60 wind turbines and 142MW of generating capacity, are now structured under a new holding company, Wind UK Invest Ltd, owned 51% by Statkraft and 49% by Gingko.

Statkraft will continue to manage and operate the wind farms.

The deal will allow Statkraft to invest further in project development.

"We have firm growth ambitions in both onshore and offshore wind power," said Statkraft executive vice president Jon Brandsar. "This agreement enables further growth through project development while at the same time maintaining our industrial role."

Gingko Tree is a UK-focussed unit of China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (Safe), which invests most of China's more than $3 trillion of foreign-exchange reserves.

Safe traditionally invests in low-risk government bonds but in recent years it has been branching out into taking direct stakes in companies and projects, following in the footsteps of China's sovereign wealth fund.

As well as investing in a property company and a data provider, Gingko Tree holds a 10% stake in the consortium that paid £1.2 billion ($2 billion) to take over Veolia Water Central.

Peter Cripps