Statkraft ready to invest abroad
December 1, 2010
Christmas came early for Norway’s state-owned power producer Statkraft, after the state handed over billions in new capital to expand investment in renewable energy projects overseas.
“It was like Christmas Eve and the 17th of May all at once,” said one Statkraft employee after the funding was announced late last week. Statkraft had long sought state capital and approval to expand worldwide.
Statkraft produces hydro-, wind, gas and other sources of power and already is the biggest producer of alternative energy in Europe. Now it has another NOK 14 billion (USD 2.3 billion) to invest, for a total of NOK 82 billion in projects in Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Turkey, Albania, Germany and several other countries.
Norway will still get the biggest share of Statkraft’s investable funds, with 25 percent, but Turkey, for example, is viewed as a promising market for hydropower, earmarked for 5 percent. Great Britain will get around 7 percent of Statkraft’s equity program, mostly for wind power projects. Nearly 40 percent of the funds will be invested in countries from Asia to South America.
Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen said the company’s goal is to become one of the leading companies in the world regarding development of hydropower.
Statkraft had been seeking authority to invest more of its own funds overseas for years, and two former top officials lost their jobs after criticizing government ministers in charge of business and trade for not backing the investment program. Former DnB NOR chief executive Svein Aaser took over as chairman of Statkraft last summer, and Rynning returned to Statkraft as well, and they finally won government approval for Statkraft’s plans.