UPDATE 1-Enbridge takes stake in $2.1 bln British offshore wind project

Thu Nov 5, 2015 7:35am EST
 
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* Enbridge to invest total of $750 mln Canadian dollars

* E.ON to remain controlling shareholder in Rampion project

* Second deal in Europe offshore in less than a week (Recasts, adds CEO quote)

FRANKFURT, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Canadian energy group Enbridge has taken a 24.9 percent stake in E.ON's 1.9 billion euro ($2.1 billion) offshore wind project Rampion, the latest in a wave of deals that has boosted the European wind power sector.

At 50.1 percent, Germany's E.ON will remain the controlling shareholder of the 400 megawatt (MW) project, to be located 13 kilometres off the Sussex coast, with the remaining stake being held by the UK Green Investment Bank.

Enbridge's total investment in Rampion, which started construction in September and is expected to be operational in 2018, would reach about C$750 million ($570 million), it said.

"The European offshore wind business comes with strong market fundamentals, sound commercial underpinnings and attractive returns," Enbridge Chief Executive Officer Al Monaco said in a statement.

The transaction comes less than a week after E.ON's smaller peer RWE said it found three partners for its 1.5 billion pound ($2.3 billion) Galloper wind park, also to be built off the British coast.

Europe's cash-strapped utilities depend on external financing for their offshore parks, usually in need of more than 1 billion euros in investments, with foreign energy groups and pension funds plugging the gap in search of regulated returns.   Continued...