Eesti Energia to buy Nelja Energia

Nelja Energia tuulepark.

PHOTO: Nelja Energia

Acquiring renewable energy company Nelja Energia will make Eesti Energia subsidiary Enefit Green suitable for listing which is what CEO of Eesti Energia Hando Sutter says will probably await the company in the future.

“We have a mandate, and it is a brilliant opportunity,” Sutter said when asked whether Enefit Green plans to plot a course for the exchange.

“Because acquiring Nelja Energia will give us a considerable project portfolio we can develop, and because Enefit Green has projects of its own, yes, we do want to develop,” Sutter said.

The CEO said that renewable energy is a capital-intensive sector that needs additional funding and that listing of shares is a good opportunity. Sutter did not say when that could happen. “Unfortunately, I cannot say anything about that, but I have ideas.”

The transaction that took place yesterday was for €493 million, making it the third biggest sales transaction in Estonian history. Despite that, Sutter believes his company did not overpay for Nelja Energia.

“Looking at transactions in Europe and elsewhere, I believe we paid an average price, and perhaps we can afford to pay a little more.”

“You can see here in the Paldiski Wind Park that half of it belongs to Nelja Energia and the other half to Enefit Green, and it is quite clear there is potential for synergy were the two halves run by the same company,” Sutter said when signing the contract yesterday. He added that this fact is the only reason EE has been able to pay above average price.

“I feel quite confident signing this deal,” the CEO said and thanked everyone who has worked on the project. “I congratulate you on reaching a position where you can buy it [Nelja Energia],” said Executive Manager of Nelja Energia’s majority shareholder Vardar Thorleif Leifsen.

“We did not end things today, instead we embarked on a long journey. If you ask me what awaits us on that journey, I don’t know,” said CEO of Enefit Green Aavo Kärmas who believes the market will offer the company plenty of opportunities. All owners of AS Nelja Energia signed the contract for the sale of 100 percent of the company’s shares to Enefit Green. The latter will pay €289 million for the holding and take over the company’s loans worth €204 million. CEO of Nelja Energia Martin Kruus said that shares have not been transferred to Enefit Green yet.

“The transaction needs to be approved by Norway’s Buskerud County administration and relevant competition boards, and contract conditions, including final price, need to be verified. Until then, we will continue to pursue our activities as usual,” Kruus said.

“We cannot forecast when shares will be transferred as it depends, among other things, on how long competition watchdogs will process the matter. We hope to have clarity by year’s end at the latest,” he added.

Postimees wrote about Eesti Energia’s potential interest in the renewable energy firm and that there were several entities interested in buying on April 19. Postimees had information to suggest there were five potential buyers. In addition to Eesti Energia, they included Lithuania’s national energy company Lietuvos Energija, Fortum, and two investment funds at least one of which is active in London.