Iberdrola controls majority stake in power firm Rokas

Spanish energy firm Iberdrola recently acquired a majority stake in listed alternative energy company Rokas, confirming its interest in the Greek market. Iberdrola, Spain’s second-largest energy producer and the world’s largest electricity producer from renewable energy sources, first entered the Greek market in December 2004, buying 21 percent in Rokas, a company which specializes in wind parks. This was the first step in an aggressive expansion strategy that sees Greece as a base for further expansion into Southeast Europe. The deal gave Iberdrola the right to expand its stake to 49.9 percent by 2008. It reached that level much earlier, in 2006 and, a couple of weeks ago, informed the Capital Market Commission that it had acquired shares on the open market on March 15, raising its stake in Rokas to 52.7 percent. Control of the majority dispenses Iberdrola from the obligation of a public offer to Rokas’s remaining shareholders to acquire 100 percent of the company. Thus, just over two years after its entry, Iberdrola has acquired an important position in Greece’s energy sector, which, although nominally deregulated in 2001, is only starting to function as a competitive market. Iberdrola’s plans for the near future are ambitious and, on a global scale, encompass 28 countries in Europe, the USA and the Far East. Recently, the company’s management announced that it will invest over -3 billion by next year in order to expand its electricity-generating capacity from renewable energy sources by 4.5 gigawatts (GW) to add to the present 30.38 GW. Most of these investments involve wind parks in Spain and other European countries. Its immediate plans include the acquisition of Scottish Power for 11.6 billion pounds sterling (-17.1 billion) which would create one of Europe’s biggest utilities. Concerning Greece, Iberdrola’s plans do not stop with Rokas. It plans to invest -400 million by 2009 to reach over 400 MW in electricity production. Its medium-term business plan includes linking three northern Aegean islands (Lesvos, Lemnos and Chios) by building 44 wind parks on them with a total power capacity of 1.64 GW. This project is expected to cost -2.4 billion and Iberdrola is in talks with former electricity monopoly PPC to form a partnership for the project. Rokas has already set up a subsidiary in Cyprus and has agreed with a local partner in Turkey to develop wind parks there. Iberdrola is also interested in natural gas. It has acquired 70 percent of Korinthos Power, a Motor Oil subsidiary bidding for the construction of a 400 MW combined-cycle plant.

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