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3i sells stake in Electrawinds

3i, a world leader in private equity, today announces that it has sold its minority stake in Electrawinds, the leading independent renewable energy company in Belgium, to the majority shareholders for an undisclosed amount, following the earlier than anticipated achievement of key milestones.

3i originally invested €30m in Electrawinds in 2006 and 3i’s partnership has been crucial in enabling Electrawinds to develop further.  3i introduced Dirk Kooman as non-executive director to further strengthen the board.  Dirk brings a wealth of experience having worked in the renewable energy sector since 1991.  3i’s partnership with Electrawinds has also enabled the company to develop additional wind and biomass projects across Europe.  Through Dirk Kooman and 3i, Electrawinds was able to acquire Adeol, Nuon’s French wind portfolio, and to attract a number of specialist renewable energy staff. 

Pieter de Jong, 3i Director, commented: “We invested in Electrawinds to support the company in fulfilling its ambitions of gaining a foothold in other European markets, as well as cementing its leading position in the Belgian market.  That work is now completed and we are proud to have worked with the Electrawinds’ team to achieve so much in such a short period.  It is time for management and the Desender family to lead the company through the next phase of their development.”

Luc Desender, CEO Electrawinds, commented: “Our partnership with 3i has been crucial to the success of our business.  Thanks to the experience and knowledge of 3i, we have been able to develop from a promising growth business into an established player in the Belgian renewable energy market.  We had anticipated we would need five years to achieve this, but are pleased to have achieved our milestones within just two years.  Electrawinds will now focus on its next stage of growth.  We thank 3i for their support.” 

Notes to editors

About 3i

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

3i Growth Capital 
3i is the world leading growth capital investor across Europe, Asia and the US.  We provide financial and strategic support to established businesses with the potential for outstanding value growth.  We invest up to €250m to help businesses achieve their growth ambitions, restructure shareholdings, release equity or change the balance of equity to debt.  Once we have invested, we are committed to working in partnership with majority shareholders.  Recent investments include SLR Consulting, €41m (UK), Union Radio Group, €225m (Spain), Quintiles (US), Venture Production Plc., €125m+ (UK), UFO Moviez, €17m (India). Realisations include Senoble (France), Alimak Hek, €238m (Sweden),, €350m (France), Williams Lea, €165m (UK); and Hayley Conference Centres, €510m (UK).

3i Benelux 
The current portfolio of 3i Benelux includes: VNU Media, the leading Dutch careers classified and B2B magazines group; Dockwise, the heavy transportation company; Hyva, the global provider of lifting and tipping systems to the commercial vehicle industry; and Aviapartner, one of Europe’s leading independent ground handlers.

About Electrawinds 
Electrawinds, based in Oostende, is Belgium’s leading independent renewable energy company.  Besides projects in Belgium, Electrawinds also operates wind farms in Italy, France and a number of other European projects.  Over the last 3 years, employee numbers have grown from 3 to 135.  In early 2008, two financial groups, Gemeeentelijke Holding and Dexia Gimv Infra+ invested €20m into Electrawinds. 

For further information please contact:

Kathryn van der Kroft
tel.  +44 207 975 3021

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