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Balfour Beatty sells Thanet windfarm transmission system stake

The Thanet windfarm off Ramsgate, Kent. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

Balfour Beatty has sold 80% of the transmission system for a windfarm off the coast of Kent to an infrastructure investment fund.

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Sale of the stake in the Thanet offshore transmission project (Thanet Ofto) to Equitix will release £40m to Balfour Beatty.

Thanet Ofto connects the 300MW Thanet windfarm to the onshore transmission grid. The farm produces enough electricity for about 200,000 homes a year from 100 turbine generators.

Balfour will continue to operate and maintain the system under a 20-year licence. The company started work on Thanet Ofto after it was named preferred bidder in 2010. The deal was completed for £164m last December but Balfour Beatty said that sum included the contract to operate the facility.

Balfour Beatty last month increased the estimated value of its infrastructure investments to £1.3bn from £1.05bn in June 2014 as part of a business review under its new chief executive, Leo Quinn. He took over after a string of profit warnings caused by project overruns, rising costs and underpricing of contracts.

Quinn said: "This disposal validates the directors' valuation of the investments portfolio, which was updated last month, and clearly demonstrates the investment business's ongoing ability to deliver significant value for the group.

"The Ofto sector remains a key market, which is why we have retained 20% ownership in Thanet, and we look forward to working with our partner, Equitix, to ensure the long-term success of this project."

A spokesman for Balfour Beatty said it was normal for the company to sell stakes in projects to release funds for further investment while retaining operation and maintenance work.


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