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Airtricity Eyes Non-Recourse Turbine Funding

Airtricity will look to obtain project financing sometime next year to complete the acquisition of 300, 1.5 MW wind turbines from General Electric.

Airtricity will look to obtain project financing sometime next year to complete the acquisition of 300, 1.5 MW wind turbines from General Electric. The wind outfit is making payments on the turbines, which GE will deliver in 2008, in order to be ready for construction of a spate of projects at that time, says Senan Murphy, cfo at Airtricity in Dublin, Ireland.

In the past, Airtricity has worked with HypoVereinsbank, Dexia Credit Local and BayernLB (PFR, 11/13), but Murphy declined to provide details on its future funding.

At this point, infrastructure firm NTR Infrastructure and London-based renewables investment advisor Ecofin have invested a combined $320 million in equity. "The reality of the business is that [renewable projects] are higher risk activities that require a certain portion of equity which banks will not secure," says Murphy, explaining why it sought to fund the bulk of the purchase with equity.

Joe Mangion, managing director of special situations at Ecofin, commenting on the deal, says, "We see great prospects in the wind farm market and Airtricity is well-positioned to take advantage of that." Officials at NTR could not be reached for comment.

Credit Suisse and NCB, which is a Dublin-based securities firm, arranged the equity investments.

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