By Jeff St. John
General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) and a subsidiary of German renewable energy company Conergy (OTC:CEYHF) want to build 200 megawatts of renewable power project in Asia in the next five years, and they're looking for $250 million to do it.
GE Energy Financial Services and the Singapore-based unit of Conergy subsidiary Epuron said Monday that the Renewable Energy Trust Asia (RETA) would be the first of its kind focused on emerging Asian economies.
The trust will be aimed at wind, solar, hydroelectric, biogas and biomass projects in India, South Korea and countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Those countries represent a $7 billion market for renewable energy projects, GE and Conergy said – and both companies have products and services to offer that market.
GE is one of the largest wind turbine makers in the world and has myriad other renewable energy interests. While the company reported a company-wide earnings decline of 22 percent in the third quarter, its energy-financial services and energy-technologies business units saw rising profits (see Energy Biz Boosts GE, Solar Stocks Still Battered).
GE Energy Financial Services, which will hold an 80 percent stake in the new Asian renewable project trust, has more than $4 billion in green technology investments and wants to invest $6 billion by 2010.
Epuron will hold the remaining 20 percent of the Asian trust and hold responsibility for its project development and debt financing. The two companies hope to make their first investment within a year.
Epuron's parent company Conergy, which focuses on developing and installing solar and wind power plants, has seen its share of troubles in the past year as it has sought to sell off noncore businesses.
The company sold its wind-turbine operation to the private equity firm Warburg Pincus in September and spun off its inverter and solar-panel mounting businesses. Earlier this year, Conergy sold a plant in Austria that makes solar-thermal collectors.
Conergy lost €7 million ($10.5 million) in the second quarter of 2008, compared with a loss of €43 million ($66.8 million) from the first quarter and €29 million ($43.5 million) from the second quarter of 2007. Last month, South Korean electronic giant LG Electronics (OTC:LGERF) backed out of a deal to buy a 75 percent stake in Conergy's Frankfurt solar panel plant, citing declining market conditions (see LG Shoots Down Conergy Deal).
The company's stock, traded under the ticker "CGY" on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, was trading for less than €1 ($1.36) on Tuesday, down from a 52-week high of more than €26 ($35.53).
Conergy is working on raising more than €250 million ($322.2 million) by the end of the year. Last week Conergy announced it would develop a 2-megawatt solar power plant in Saudi Arabia at a cost of €11.3 million ($15.4 million).