FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) - Canadian energy firm Enbridge (ENB.TO) has won the auction for a stake in EnBW's (EBKG.DE) Hohe See, one of Europe's largest offshore wind power projects, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
Once completed, Hohe See, expected to cost as much as 2 billion euros ($2.24 billion), will produce enough power to supply about 560,000 homes. EnBW plans to make a final investment decision towards the end of the year.
Sources had told Reuters in July that Enbridge and Australia's Macquarie (MQG.AX) were both vying for the stake of up to 49.9 percent.
A second person with knowledge of the matter told Thomson Reuters PFI that consultants who had been working on debt financing for the project were no longer involved. Of the two bidders, only Macquarie required debt financing, banking sources said.
EnBW and Enbridge declined to comment, while Macquarie was not immediately available for comment.
The move further strengthens Enbrige's footprint in Europe's booming offshore industry, which already covers a 24.9 percent stake in E.ON's (EONGn.DE) Rampion project as well as a strategic partnership with France's EDF (EDF.PA).
Europe's cash-strapped utilities depend on external cash for their offshore parks, usually in need of more than 1 billion euros in investments apiece, with foreign energy groups and pension funds plugging the gap in search of regulated returns.
Enbridge, Canada's largest pipeline company, in November pointed to the offshore wind industry's "strong market fundamentals, sound commercial underpinnings and attractive returns".
Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Stefano Berra of PFI; Additional reporting by Catherine Ngai in New York; Editing by Georgina Prodhan