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WFW advises Axpo on sale of 72 MW French onshore wind portfolio21 December 2023

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) has advised Volkswind GmbH (“Volkswind”), a subsidiary of Switzerland’s  Axpo Holding AG (“Axpo”), on its sale of three French wind farms with a combined capacity of 72 MW to an Article 9 fund advised by Germany’s EB – Sustainable Investment Management GmbH (“EB-SIM”). The transaction is still subject to customary conditions and expected to close in H1 2024.

The portfolio comprises 21 state-of-the-art power plants at the 18 MW Aiguillettes, 28.8 MW Berlémont and 25.2 MW Pâtis aux Chevaux wind farms located in the Centre-Val de Loire, Hauts-de-France and Nouvelle-Aquitaine regions of France respectively. Axpo will continue to provide technical and commercial management services for the portfolio following the sale.

As part of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), Article 9 funds are intended to make a positive impact on society and the environment through sustainable investment and have a non-financial objective at the core of their offering.

Axpo is one of Europe’s leading renewable energy providers, operating over 100 power plants with its partners encompassing wind, hydropower, biomass and nuclear energy, as well as being Switzerland’s largest hydrogen producer. Since its 2015 acquisition of Volkswind, the group has been active in the planning, project development, construction, maintenance and management of wind farms in France and Germany with a total installed capacity of 1,500+ MW.

EB-SIM is a subsidiary of Germany’s Evangelische Bank eG, specialising in managing alternative and sustainable investments for both institutional and private investors.

The cross-border WFW Corporate and M&A team that advised Axpo was led by Hamburg Partner and Global Energy Sector Co-Head Dr Malte Jordan, supported by Managing Associate Christian Schindler and Associate Daniel Schaub Hernández and working closely with Paris Partner Thomas Rabain and Associate Mohamed Douib. French regulatory and public law advice was provided by Paris Partner Laurent Battoue and tax expertise by Paris Partner Romain Girtanner and Associate Marie Dubois.

Malte commented: “We are pleased to have advised our long-standing client Axpo on this significant cross-border acquisition, especially given its important sustainability credentials. That Axpo opted for WFW on this deal, demonstrates once again the firm’s standing as a ‘go to’ law firm for major cross-border energy sector transactions, especially in the renewables space”.

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