January 13, 2017 / 12:10 PM / 3 years ago

Centrica completes exit from wind power with Lincs wind farm sale

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Centrica (CNA.L) has completed its withdrawal from wind power generation with the sale of a 50 percent stake in the Lincs offshore wind farm to the Green Investment Bank and its offshore wind fund, the companies said on Friday.

Centrica’s joint venture partner Siemens Project Ventures (SIEGn.DE) has also agreed to sell its 25 percent stake to the same buyer, while remaining shareholder Dong Energy DENERG.CO has retained its 25 percent stake and will take over operatorship of the wind farm off the east coast of England.

Centrica said its net proceeds from the deal would come to around 220 million pounds.

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) will own 31 percent of the asset and its Offshore Wind Fund will hold a 44 percent stake.

Centrica has shifted its strategy away from its core energy generation business to focus more on end-consumer services after years of weak profits from its energy production unit.

Centrica first announced its intention to exit windpower generation in 2015, but it said it would continue buying power from renewable energy sources. Last year it realised net proceeds of around 115 million pounds from the sale of stakes in three wind farms.

In contrast Danish Dong Energy remains one of Britain’s biggest offshore wind investors. Three weeks ago it raised its full-year earnings forecast after selling a 50 percent stake in its Race Bank offshore wind farm to Macquarie.

Dong said on Friday that as part of the Lincs deal it had also agreed to provide operation and maintenance services to the wind farm, the first time it has concluded a support agreement from an operating wind farm.

For the GIB Offshore Wind Fund, the first in the world to invest solely in the technology, this deal will be its final investment after reaching its target of 1 billion pounds.

The government is in the process of selling the GIB but an industry source said the bank was likely to open a new fund soon, continuing investments in offshore wind and potentially other renewable energy technologies.

Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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