General and Australia / New Zealand
Babcock & Brown Ltd (B&B)has sold wind farm assets held by B&B Wind Partners in Portugal for $2.23 billion.
The assets were sold to a consortium of investors led by Magnum Capital.
B&B said it would earn $285.82 million in net proceeds from the sale of its 50% share of the portfolio.
This represents a price above book value and will be used to pay down project debt secured against European wind assets, it added.
AS BABCOCK & Brown Wind Partners battles lower earnings and poor investor sentiment, it has emerged that the chief executive, Peter O'Connell, has sold his entire stake in the company.
In early August the specialist wind energy company surprised the stockmarket with a profit warning after what it described as "particularly unusually [sic] low wind conditions in May and June". Its securities slumped to a record low of $1.25 in response.
A CONTRITE Peter O'Connell has promised to this week buy back the securities he sold in Babcock & Brown Wind Partners about two months ago.
"I'm definitely buying back," the chief executive of Babcock & Brown Wind told the Herald last night. "I genuinely have a great interest in the stock."
A promise to unwind gearing and undertake a full review of operations might be sufficient to let Babcock & Brown off the hook with its bankers.
It is now looking as if the beleaguered company might have done enough to prevent a formal review being called on its $2.8 billion corporate facility from its bankers.
A decision on whether the syndicate of 25 banks initiates a formal review, prompted after Babcock's market capitalisation fell through the facility's $2.5 billion value trigger, is expected within the next two weeks. But it is now looking more likely that this process could be expedited, with an announcement made possibly this week. ...It is understood that assets on the Babcock balance sheet -- predominantly wind farm assets and some infrastructure assets -- might also be sold.
Investment firm Babcock & Brown says it is in dispute with a bank which holds a deposit of a material amount relating to the release of that deposit.
Babcock requested a trading halt in its shares today, saying it expected the halt to remain until the dispute was resolved.
The owner of wind farms and properties has lost 99% of its market value this year as it struggles to sell assets to repay $3.1 billion in loans.
A unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan's largest heavy-machinery maker, sued partner Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Group US LLC seeking payments under wind-turbine contracts worth $US1.4 billion ($1.9 billion).
The chairman and chief executive of Australian investment group Babcock & Brown, which holds a 23% stake in Forth Ports, both quit yesterday amid the group's continuing financial troubles.
Long-serving chief executive Phil Green and chairman James Babcock, who founded the company in 1977, have stepped aside from their roles at the troubled asset management and advisory company.
Babcock & Brown Wind Partners Group (BBW) shareholders have approved the company's name change, finalising its separation from its troubled parent.
At an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday, shareholders approved a motion for the company to become known as Infigen Energy.
Infigen is derived from the words infinite and generation.
The Crescent Ridge acquisition would provide BBW with two revenue sources. In the first instance, 100% of the energy generated by the wind farm will be sold into the PJM wholesale power pool.
BBW said the second revenue source would comprise of 100% of renewable energy certificates (“RECs”), which would also be sold throughout the PJM power market and transported into adjacent service territories, such as the New York market, for sale.
Babcock & Brown chief executive Phil Green appears to have kept the financial wolf from the door for the time being, with a presentation to bankers on Monday night believed to have been "reasonably well" received.
But it could be a week before Babcock's bankers decide whether to initiate a formal review of a $2.8 billion senior debt facility that the embattled group has with them.
A spokeswoman said B&B was today holding talks with its bankers about the issue. "They start today and they will probably go for a number of days," she said.
B&B says it may take its bankers, which include the big four Australian banks as well as European institutions, a while to decide whether or not to go ahead.
"A decision may take some time in line with normal banking syndicate processes," B&B said. ...B&B is continuing with planned asset sales, announced earlier in the year, as it de-leverages its balance sheet.
B&B expects this week to receive first round indicative offers for the previously announced sale of European wind energy assets.
The board of Babcock & Brown's wind energy offshoot is resisting attempts to have it effectively wound up after its largest shareholder called for the fund to sell all its European, US and Australian assets.
The Children's Investment Master Fund (TCI), a London-based hedge fund, has argued that the ASX-listed Babcock & Brown Wind Partners Group (BBW) should opt to liquidate itself as the best way to close the gap between its ailing share price and the value of its existing wind farm and development right assets.
Babcock & Brown Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Phil Green is under increasing pressure to sell European wind farms to stave off a possible debt review, triggered by a share collapse this week. ...A successful sale could trigger a rebound in Babcock's shares, which trade at less than three times earnings after falling 83 percent this year, said ABN Amro Holdings NV analyst John Heagerty. Failure may increase the risk of banks demanding early repayment on A$2.8 billion of debt.
BABCOCK & Brown Wind Partners has found itself becalmed after two unusually windless months in May and June. ..........
"Wind speeds across the Spanish, German and Lake Bonney 1 wind farms during May and June have ranged between 58 per cent and 92 per cent of the long-term average," said a BBW release, which came out yesterday after the market had closed.
The federal Tourism Minister has joined the fight to stop the proposed Smeaton wind farm going ahead in central Victoria.
Fran Bailey met the opponents in Hepburn Springs last night.
She says wind farms need to be located away from tourism areas and other alternate energy forms like solar need to be considered instead.
"I am very concerned about this and I do join with local residents. I do not think wind farms are appropriate in iconic tourist areas and I think that the Hepburn Springs area is one such area," she said.
LIBERAL leader Ted Baillieu has taken aim at the wind-power industry, saying wind farms divide rural communities and pledging a moratorium on new wind farms in Victoria.
Mr Baillieu also announced large tracts of the state would become no-go zones for wind farms under a Liberal government and he wants to give sole planning approval for the turbines to local councils.
Tarwin Valley Coastal Guardians regrets the Federal Environment Minister was today compelled to approve the controversial Bald Hills wind facility on the South Gippsland coast, however the community group vowed to continue the fight.
A victorian anti-wind-farm group has branded a Brumby government minister as arrogant for refusing to meet them.
Agriculture Minister Joe Helper - who holds the marginal seat of Ripon by 4.3 per cent - has not met the group, opposed to the wind farm to be built outside Ballarat, for three years.
A battle over two wind farms could be on the horizon in the Ballarat district.
WestWind Energy plans to build the $180 million wind farms at Yendon and Elaine.
Though the projects are still in the early planning stages, WestWind Energy hopes to put up to 50 wind turbines on 4000ha of private land.
An investment bank that has sold a wind farm proposal in Queensland's South Burnett says it is confident the new owner will bring the project to fruition.
The South African-based Investec Bank has sold the Coopers Gap project, and another in Victoria, to energy company AGL for $14 million.