Brazil’s Votorantim to Seek Partner to Expand in Wind

Votorantim SA will seek a partner to help the Brazilian conglomerate accelerate its wind-power efforts in the country.

The company has started internal conversations about potential investors and hasn’t approached any companies yet, according to Fabio Zanfelice, chief executive officer of the Sao Paulo-based company’s Votorantim Energia unit. He doesn’t expect to finalize a potential deal until next year.

The move comes as Votorantim expects to begin operations at its first wind farm in Brazil, a 205-megawatt complex in the northeastern state of Piaui it acquired in 2015. The first turbines will go into service in June and the facility must be complete and connected to the grid in January.

“We have a big pipeline and can develop it in a shorter period of time with an investor,” Zanfelice said in an interview in his office Tuesday. A partner would also help diversify risk.

The company is investing 1.13 billion reais ($365 million) in the wind farm. The 2015 acquisition from Casa dos Ventos Energias Renovaveis SA came with an option to buy until 2019 another 400 megawatts of wind projects. Votorantim also has 11 small hydroelectric plants under development in Brazil, with a total of 300 megawatts of capacity.

“We want to keep being operators of wind parks, but not necessarily majority shareholders,” said Zanfelice. Votorantim is also considering an initial public offering for its energy unit.

Votorantim produces cement, metals, orange juice and wood pulp, according to its website. Its energy unit is now Brazil’s third-largest power trader. It has 32 big hydroelectric plants and five thermoelectric plants, with 2.6 gigawatts of capacity, most of which is used to power its own operations.

“We are open to partners that want to invest in wind energy as a long term investment,” said Zanfelice.

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