Qatar cash to fuel expansion for Spain's Iberdrola

Wealth fund pledges more cash for energy projects, won’t raise stake in Iberdrola
Qatar cash to fuel expansion for Spain's Iberdrola
COMPANY BOSS: President of the Spanish power company Iberdrola, Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan (Getty Images)
By Bloomberg
Thu 17 Mar 2011 11:41 AM

Qatar Holding will make additional investments in energy projects with Iberdrola after taking a 6.2 percent stake in Spain’s biggest power company, chief executive officer Ahmad Al Sayed said.

“We will invest together, we will grow together in different locations,” Al Sayed said on Wednesday at a news conference in Madrid. “We will put our money next to their money when we find something appropriate.”

Iberdrola this week secured a 2 billion-euro ($2.8bn) investment from Qatar’s state-owned investment company to bolster its balance sheet after acquiring a Brazilian power distributor and offering to buy out minority shareholders in its clean-power unit. The Qatar deal will let Iberdrola limit borrowing and protect its credit rating as the utility looks to expand its international business, the company said.

The partnership between Iberdrola and Qatar “creates a platform with enough financial muscle to execute other energy projects that need serious capital investment,” Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galan said at the news conference.

Qatar Holding is a unit of the Qatar Investment Authority and owns stakes in Agricultural Bank of China, Banco Santander, Barclays and Credit Suisse as well as Porsche Automobil Holding and Volkswagen, according to a regulatory filing.

The company agreed to buy new shares equivalent to 6.2 percent of Iberdrola’s current capitalization and treasury stock equivalent to 0.4 percent of the firm.

Al-Sayed said it was too soon to discuss whether he would consider increasing Qatar’s Iberdrola stake. “We’ve just done the deal,” he said. “I never thought about it yet and we never discussed it internally.”

Iberdrola last week offered about 2.5 billion euros in shares for the 20 percent of Iberdrola Renovables owned by other investors. It agreed to pay 1.8 billion euros for Brazil’s Elektro Eletricidade e Servicos in January.

The offer for Renovables “will follow its course,” Galan said.

Clean-power company shares have surged this week after the radiation leak caused by the Japanese tsunami prompted Germany to review its nuclear energy program. Iberdrola has said it expects to close the Renovables buyout in July.

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