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3i invests 30m in Electrawinds

3i, Europe’s leading private equity and venture capital company, and Electrawinds, the leading independent renewable energy company in Belgium, today announce that 3i has acquired a minority stake in Electrawinds. This investment will allow Electrawinds to develop new energy projects in Belgium and overseas.

Electrawinds, which operates in Belgium and Italy, currently has 45MW of installed capacity in wind and biomass energy.  Since its formation in 1998, Electrawinds has invested a total of €100m in renewable energy projects.  The company has plans to add a further 400MW of energy generation.  3i’s investment will allow Electrawinds to construct and develop additional wind and biomass projects across Europe.  The company currently has branches in Portugal, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Africa and today’s investment will allow these activities to be expanded.  Over the coming year, Electrawinds is planning to invest a further €100m in renewable energy projects.  Electrawinds is aiming for turnover of €22.8m in 2006, €50m in 2007 and €100m in 2008. 

The investment in Electrawinds has been made by 3i’s growth capital team, which provides financial and strategic support, investing €10 - €150 million in minority positions in established businesses with the potential for value growth.

Pieter de Jong, 3i Director, commented: “We are attracted to Electrawinds for three reasons: the company’s strong and experienced management team, the growth prospects for the renewable energy market and the quality of Electrawinds’ development pipeline.  We look forward to supporting Electrawinds in converting this pipeline and to building Electrawinds into one of Europe’s foremost independent renewable energy developers.” 

Mark Kerr, Director of 3i’s Oil, Gas & Power team commented: “Electrawinds is a great example of where 3i‘s local relationships come together with the deep sector knowledge from our Oil, Gas & Power team.  Through our international network and sector focus, 3i is able to add significant value to Electrawinds through finding and introducing potential development opportunities, non executive directors and corporate partners. We see Electrawinds as an excellent platform upon which to build a substantial renewable energy business. “

Luc Desender, CEO of Electrawinds, commented: “We are delighted to welcome 3i as a partner.  Their sector expertise and geographic network will be invaluable to us as we grow the business and realise our ambitions of becoming a leading player in the European renewable energy market.” 

The worldwide market for renewable energy is estimated at $100bn pa and has been growing at 30% pa over the last 5 years.  This growth is driven by concerns over global warming and carbon emissions, the impact of high oil prices and the desire to diversify supply sources and reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels.

3i was advised by Ernst & Young’s Renewables, Waste & Clean Energy Group, Allen & Overy and Mott MacDonald. Electrawinds was advised by Capital Advice, Baker & McKenzie and lawyers De Broeck, Van Laere, Van Camp, Coopman.

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital, Venture Capital and Infrastructure and invest across Europe, the United States and Asia.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

3i Benelux, which has been operating since 1998, has invested over €1.6bn to date.  The growth capital team focuses on investing €10-€150m for minority stakes in established businesses with the potential for value growth.  Once 3i is invested, it is committed to working in partnership to deliver its international network, market insight and energy to entrepreneurs, to help them build exceptional businesses.  The buyout team leads mid-market buyouts up to €1bn.

The current portfolio includes ABX LOGISTICS Worldwide, one of the world''s top international freight forwarders and logistics services providers; Aviapartner, one of Europe’s leading independent ground handlers; and a minority stake in Van Wijnen, one of the largest building and construction companies in the Netherlands.  Recent exits include Refresco, one of the leading European producers of fruit juices and soft drinks for European retailers, which was sold to an Icelandic consortium in April 2006; United Transport Tankcontainers, the international tank container operator, which was acquired by Interbulk Investments plc in February 2006; and YBR, a leading European directory services provider, which was sold for €1,825 million to a consortium led by Macquarie Capital Alliance Group in May 2005.

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