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Renewable energy firm plans capital hike

Belgian sustainable energy firm Thenergo said on Tuesday it is considering launching a capital increase by the end of the year to fund its rapid expansion and increase its stock’s liquidity.

The company, which generates energy by burning organic materials such as manure, rotting vegetables and gas from sewage, raised €70 million ($110.9 million) in its initial public offering on the Alternext Paris junior exchange in July. Since then, it has taken control of waste collection and transport firm Leysen Group and German biomass combustion specialist ENRO AG and increased its stake in Belgian cogeneration firm Polargen to 100%.

„We have financial means. We had €50 million of cash at the end of 2007. There is less now and this will not be enough to cover our needs if we keep growth at the same level,” Thenergo CEO Kurt Alen told Reuters on the sidelines of a small- and mid-cap conference. “It is possible that we will raise new funds either before the summer or during the fourth quarter,” he added, giving no further details on the size of a rights issue.

The company’s acquisitions, which were partly paid for with its own shares, have enabled Thenergo to boost its installed capacity, which Allen said he expected to reach 100 megawatts by the end of this year from 63.3MW at the end of last year. By comparison, France’s biggest nuclear power station in the northern site of Gravelines has a capacity of 5,400MW.

Thenergo has sites in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and wants to grow in Central and Eastern Europe, notably in Poland, Hungary and Croatia and it has identified opportunities in Italy and Spain, Alen said. Funding expansion was not the only reason the company was seeking to raise capital, Alen added. “We also want to increase the liquidity of our title in order to enlarge our base of institutional investors,” he said.

Thenergo’s share price has risen 33.3% since the start of the year to €10, valuing the company at €162.8 million. It is 29% owned by French wind energy specialist Theolia. “Theolia owns 29%. They will not sell and they could probably follow our capital increase but I don’t think they will keep their stake at the same level. They will therefore be diluted slightly,” Alen said. He expected last year’s sales of €20.8 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of €2.5 million to grow strongly this year. „The prospects this year are for sales of at least €70 million and an EBITDA well above €10 million,” he said. (Reuters)