Darby Acquires 32% Stake in Korean Wind Farm

Darby Overseas Investments Ltd. the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments, announced that its Korea Emerging Infrastructure Fund (KEIF) acquired a 32.4% equity stake in Gangwon Wind Power Co. Ltd. (GWP). GWP was established in 2001 to construct a wind farm in Gangwon Province in eastern Korea that is now the largest in the country and among the largest in Asia.

According to the Korea Power Exchange, as of the end of 2007, GWP represented more than half of the country’s installed wind power capacity. While total installed capacity in Korea has increased from 7.9 MW in 2001 to 191 MW in 2007, the Korean government has set targets to promote much higher levels of wind farm power.

“This is a highly attractive investment for an infrastructure fund such as KEIF,” said David Hudson, Darby’s senior managing director for Asia and Global Infrastructure. “By virtue of its size, GWP is in a strong position to expand even further by re-powering existing wind turbines or developing additional capacity. Of all renewable energy sources, wind power is one of the most efficient in terms of cost per unit of electricity generated.”

Clean energy has been a key focus for Darby. Recently, the firm made an investment in a wind- and hydro-power plant developer in India, which is a core part of its infrastructure portfolio, the firm said. In 2007, Darby invested in a rape-seed crushing plant in Poland that supplies rapeseed oil to the bio-diesel industry.

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