NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE) is considering buying a package of renewable energy assets put up for sale by Spanish construction company Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA (ACS).
A purchase would be the first in the European wind market for NextEra, the world’s second-largest producer of wind energy. Currently, all its wind parks are located in the U.S. and Canada.
ACS, the largest Spanish construction company by market value, has been looking since November for a buyer for 1,757 megawatts of renewable energy projects, valued at approximately EUR4.6 billion. They include Spanish wind farms with capacity of 1,056MW, wind farms outside of Spain with 352 MW of capacity and Spanish solar thermal plants with 349MW of capacity.
NextEra is interested in both wind farms and solar thermal plants, but the company won’t make a decision on the acquisition until it gets funding for its first solar thermal project in Spain, which is to close in the coming weeks.
Spain’s government has approved two NextEra solar thermal projects, with 50 MW of capacity each, but construction hasn’t yet begun. A spokesman for NextEra said these two projects are "the only significant development or acquisition opportunity we are pursuing outside North America."
Faced with difficulties in finding a single buyer, ACS has divided up the renewable assets into six packages according to type of asset, whether or not it is already in operation, and location. The company said last February it expects to receive binding offers in late April, in order to close some sales before the summer.
Among potential buyers are utilities, independent power producers and infrastructure funds. Companies that have already shown interest include Italy’s Enel SpA, Spain’s Gas Natural SDG SA and the investment fund of Morgan Stanley (MS).
ACS is looking to reduce its high debt and is seeking more control of Iberdrola, in which it holds a 19% stake. Iberdrola has so far blocked ACS’s access to the board of directors, arguing it is a competitor in the energy business.
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) is a leading clean energy company with 2010 revenues of more than $15 billion, nearly 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and approximately 15,000 employees in 28 states and Canada. Headquartered in Juno Beach, Fla., NextEra Energy’s principal subsidiaries are NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which together with its affiliated entities is the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and Florida Power & Light Company, which serves approximately 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is one of the largest rate-regulated electric utilities in the country.