FRANKFURT Jan 27 Australian bank Macquarie
is looking to expand its portfolio of power assets, one
of its executives said, and may even invest in continental
Europe, where utilities are closing thousands of megawatts worth
of gas and coal plants.
Long established as a buyer of European infrastructure
assets, including gas networks offering fixed annual returns,
Macquarie has also started to buy power plants, which European
utilities are shedding as a result of high gas prices and low
German utilities E.ON and RWE alone are
mothballing or closing more than 15,000 MW of plant capacity,
also hurt by surplus renewable generation that is pushing gas
plants out of the market.
Trading houses and investment funds from Europe and Asia
have shown interest in snapping up power assets in Europe at
reduced prices from utilities, which are selling them off to
reduce their mounting debts.
Last year, Macquarie led an investor group to purchase the
832 megawatt (MW) Severn gas-fired power station in Britain from
Danish utility DONG Energy for 305 million pounds
($503.33 million). A year earlier, it had agreed to buy French
electric utility EDF's 819 MW Sutton Bridge gas power
station in England.
"Macquarie has acquired several conventional power plants in
Britain. But we're also considering investing in generation
outside the UK," Hilko Schomerus, managing director at Macquarie
Infrastructure and Real Assets, told Reuters.
"Therefore, we're looking for opportunities in the whole of
Europe, including Germany, even though the situation there is
Other investors, too, have zeroed in on power plants as an
investment, most notably Japanese trading house Marubeni
Corporation, which last year agreed to acquire 50
percent of a 3,300 MW portfolio of thermal and renewable power
generation assets in Portugal from France's GDF Suez.