Cesa exit provides healthy return

Acciona, a Spanish construction and energy company, has agreed to pay €1.47bn for 93% of Corporacion Eolica (Cesa), facilitating an exit for private equity shareholders. The acquisition provides an exit for Spanish buyout firm Mercapital and UK peer Bridgepoint as well as Juan Luis Arregui, who is on the board of directors and a shareholder at energy company Iberdrola.

Bridgepoint is estimated to have made 6x its money, having invested €45m for a 23.75% stake, while Mercapital owns 30% of Cesa.

Ukraine-based investment vehicle Gala-Capital, in which Grupo Ferrovial chairman Rafael del Pino has a stake, acquired 7.5% of Cesa for €24m last May. In 2004, Bridgepoint bought its 23.75% stake for €45m (US$53m), which would now be worth €260m – a return of more than six times the original investment.

Cesa was originally established as a unit of Spanish energy and environmental business Guascor.

Acciona is paying €973m for Cesa’s equity and taking on €397m of the target’s debt. Once the deal is completed, Acciona said it would have 18% of the Spanish market.

The company has installed plant with a capacity 2,706MW using clean energies, including wind farms, and by buying Cesa it will add 536MW of attributable installed capacity, primarily in Spain, but also with 40MW in Italy and Greece. A further 138MW is under construction and CESA is developing 878MW in Spain and internationally between 2006 and 2009.

Acciona restructured into three divisions a year ago, with Esteban Morras heading up the renewable energy division, which has 2,600MW of installed capacity. The other two divisions cover infrastructure and services.