Sunday, March 18, 2012

(BN) German Offshore Wind Pioneer Bard Sees Takeover Within 12 Weeks

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

German Offshore Wind Pioneer Bard Sees Takeover Within 12 Weeks

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Bard Holding GmbH, a German company that helped pioneer deep water wind-farms, expects talks on its takeover by several companies to close within about 12 weeks.

Bard is discussing the sale with a "couple" of companies, Axel Bahr, a spokesman, said by phone, declining to name them because talks are continuing. Bard anticipates "indicative offers" at end-March and completion in 6 to 12 weeks, he said.

The company is developing the 400-megawatt Bard Offshore 1 wind farm in the German North Sea about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Borkum island, scheduled to be completed by next year or 2014. Bard has permission to build another 80 turbines in nearby waters about 40 meters (130 feet) deep.

Cost and technical challenges from developing wind turbines far at sea, among the most expensive of renewable technologies, led to "financial pressure" for Emden-based Bard, Bahr said.

The company suffered delays installing the machines and ran short of money, pushing the project with an expected capacity to power 400,000 homes about two years behind schedule, Bahr said.

Bard in September said it had begun seeking a "strategic investor" and appointed JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s investment banking arm to sell a 87.5 percent stake. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd. said in November it was interested.

While the shipbuilder is still studying it, "there is no specific matter in progress at the moment," it said in an e- mailed reply to questions. JPMorgan Chase & Co wouldn't comment.

Holding Company

UniCredit Bank AG, which provided about 1.74 billion euros ($2.3 billion) for the wind park from 2007 to 2010, agreed to give a further 1.17 billion euros in August 2011, "on the basis of various technical and legal reports by external consultants stating that the project was feasible," the bank said.

The 2.9 billion euros of UniCredit funds would allow the park to be finished, the bank said in a statement on its website this year. UniCredit declined to comment when Bloomberg called.

Bard, founded in 2003 by Arngolt Bekker, is the holding company of a group of businesses covering all stages of offshore wind development, including making turbines. Bekker transferred his shares to a trustee at end-2010 because of funding problems.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Sally Bakewell in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

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