(Bloomberg) -- Electricity Supply Board, the state-owned Irish utility, is in advanced talks to buy a stake in a Scottish offshore wind farm project owned by Electricite de France SA, people familiar with the matter said.
A deal for a 50% holding in the Neart na Gaoithe development could be announced as soon as the next few weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
EDF bought the asset from Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd. last year for an undisclosed amount. At the time, EDF said it would open the project to other investors in due course. The 450-megawatt facility is set to cost about 1.8 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) to build and will supply enough electricity for 375,000 homes. It’s due to be commissioned in 2023, the French state-controlled utility has said.
No final agreements have been reached, and talks could still be delayed or fall apart, the people said. Representatives for ESB and EDF’s renewables unit declined to comment.
Offshore wind developers typically share the costs and risks associated with the development of capital-intensive facilities at sea. The sale would also help EDF meet its target to sell as much as 3 billion euros of assets to curb debt. It’s struggling to maintain enough of a cash flow buffer to cover day-to-day maintenance costs and investments in new nuclear and renewable facilities.
Earlier this year, the French utility completed the sale of its 25% stake in Swiss power producer Alpiq Holding AG for 489 million francs ($491 million). EDF agreed in July to sell a package of oil and gas assets for as much as $850 million.
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