UPDATE 1-Italy’s ERG plans to expand wind power in Brazil

October 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News


Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:35am BST

By Giancarlo Navach

VIENNA Oct 13 (Reuters) – Italian energy group ERG
plans to invest in wind power in Brazil and Europe, accelerating
its expansion in the sector after its recent decision to exit
the refining sector.

ERG, over 60 percent controlled by Italy’s Garrone family,
completed the acquisition of wind power assets from France’s GDF
Suez this year to become Italy’s largest wind energy
player and one of the top ten in Europe.

Presenting the group’s strategy in Vienna on Saturday, ERG
chief executive Luca Bettone said ERG planned to invest in
countries and areas which had strong wind conditions and were
less dependent on government subsidies, such as South America.

“This company must look to growth and, since we are now the
biggest wind player in Italy, must try to move outside our
national borders,” Bettone said in comments that were embargoed
until Monday. “There are opportunities in this country (Brazil)
and we think we’ll enter the market with acquisitions.”

ERG has transformed itself in recent years into a renewable
energy company in order to counter declining profits at its
refinery business. Last week it struck a deal to sell its
remaining stake in the ISAB oil refinery in Sicily to Russia’s
Lukoil for around 400 million euros -
a sale Bettone said would yield no special dividend from the
proceeds.

ERG, which is now targeting a 20 percent rise in core
earnings next year to around 600 million euros ($813.75
million), intends to invest some 500 million euros to 2015 to
focus on renewable energy.

In Europe, Bettone said, the company aimed to enter the
Spanish market while strengthening its position in Bulgaria and
Romania where it has wind power assets.

He also confirmed that TotalErg – the joint venture between
ERG and France’s Total – was interested in the Italian
petrol distribution network that Shell is selling.

TotalErg has a market share in Italy of 12 percent which
would rise to 18 percent with the Shell network.

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