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Aviva, China Resources mulling bids for UK wind farms

[HONG KONG] Aviva Plc and China Resources Power Holdings Co are among companies considering bids for Statkraft AS's stakes in its offshore UK wind farms, people familiar with the matter said, amid a surge in interest for Europe's green energy assets.

Macquarie Group Ltd and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S are also weighing offers, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. While Statkraft is aiming to sell the assets for US$1 billion to US$1.5 billion, according to one of the people, bidders may only be willing to pay about US$750 million to US$1 billion for the two stakes, two of the people said.

No final decisions have been made and the companies could still decide against a bid, the people said. A spokesman for Statkraft said the company couldn't comment on an ongoing process beyond saying that it hopes to wrap up the sale "around New Year's." Macquarie declined to comment. Aviva, China Resources Power and CIP didn't immediately respond to requests.

Statkraft, the Norwegian state-owned energy company, is selling its 40 per cent holding in the Sheringham Shoal wind farm and its 30 per cent stake in the Dudgeon project. The company decided last year to halt new investments in offshore wind power, which it deemed too capital intensive.

The company is running separate sale processes for the stakes, but interested buyers can bid for both, one of the people said. The company is seeking a binding offer by early November, the person said.

Wind assets have proven popular with bidders as European countries push for greater reliance on renewable energy sources. Last year, Gamesa Corp, Tecnologica SA and Siemens AG agreed to merge businesses to create one of the world's biggest wind-turbine manufacturers. Spanish wind-power firm Eolia Renovables de Inversiones SCR SA has drawn interest from Shanghai Electric Power Co and Spanish electricity company Endesa SA, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.