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Alternative energy investor numbers to surge 21%

Investor numbers in North America and Europe rose to 190 so far this year through October 13, from 173 in all of last year, Venture, a London-based company that tracks private company investment, said October 25 in an e-mailed statement.

The number of investors putting money in alternative energy and environmental technology companies is likely to surge 21% this year while the average investment size will jump, research by Venture Business Research Ltd. shows. New investors this year include Google Inc., the world's most used search engine, and EnCana Corp., Canada's biggest natural-gas producer, the statement said. „I think it will go through 210” this year, Douglas Lloyd, Venture's director and founder, said today by telephone. The average size of each transaction rose to €16 million ($20.4 million) so far this year, from €14.3 million ($18.1 million) last year, the statement said.

Airtricity, an Irish wind-park operator building generators in Texas and New York, bought closely held Gale Force Energy on October 19 for an undisclosed sum to tap demand for renewable energy. Airtricity earlier this year raised €250 million ($317 million) to build wind farms as record oil prices increased demand for renewable energy. There have been 265 so-called clean technology transactions so far this year, Venture Research says. That's 18% more than the total in all of 2005. „I expect to see a significant increase in merger and acquisition activity in the next 18 months,” said Lloyd. „These businesses are maturing. They are able to start buying up their smaller competitors.” Investment banks and law firms are „positioning to take a piece of the pie,” Venture said in its statement. „There are very few established sector specialists,” and the industry was until recently too small for advisers to generate meaningful fees. (Bloomberg)