The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of joint control over Belgrade-based NIS Energowind, the developer of the Plandište wind farm, by MET Renewables, part of Swiss energy company MET Group, and O Zone, part of Russia’s Gazprom group, the commission said in a press release.
NIS Energowind, founded in Serbia in 2005, is developing the Plandište wind farm, which will have 34 wind turbines with a total capacity of 102 MW. NIS Energowind first received the status of a privileged producer of electricity from renewable energy sources in November 2005, which was then extended in December 2016. The latest extension was approved in January 2018, with privileged producer status to last until May 2020.
Until MET Renewables acquired 50% of NIS Energowind earlier this year, the Plandište wind farm developer was 50% owned by Serbia-based oil & gas company NIS, controlled by Gazprom, and 50% by a group of private investors, the most prominent of whom was Goran Novaković, a former energy minister, according to the project’s website.
NIS remains the owner of 50% of NIS Energowind through its Serbia-based subsidiary O Zone, a firm that owns and manages hotels, resorts, and restaurants in Serbia and Montenegro.
NIS CEO Kirill Tyurdenev has confirmed in an interview with the Gazprom magazine that an agreement has been signed with MET’s subsidiary in Hungary on a 50-50 joint investment in the Plandište project, with MET to arrange project finance, eKapija reported. Tyurdenev also announced that the project will be completed by the second quarter of 2020.
The proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because MET Renewables does not have and will not have any business activity in the European Economic Area, the European Commission has concluded.
MET Renewables is an integrated energy company operating 15 European countries, trading in natural gas, electricity, and oil. The group has a subsidiary in Serbia, MET SRB, with a license for electricity trading.