Boralex sells Maine biomass plants to N.Y. firm

Posted Nov. 07, 2011, at 7:47 p.m.

Boralex Inc. of Montreal, Quebec, announced Monday it was selling its United States-based biomass electric plants — including four in Maine — for $93 million to a New York energy company.

The Maine plants, which convert scrap wood to power, are in Ashland, Fort Fairfield, Livermore Falls and Stratton. The deal also includes a facility in Chateaugay, N.Y., according to a Boralex release.

The deal does not include Boralex’s plant in Stacyville, which is closed and “will remain permanently shut after the transaction,” Boralex said in a briefing on the deal.

The power plants are being sold to ReEnergy Holdings LLC of Albany, N.Y. ReEnergy operates four similar plants in New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

According to ReEnergy, the company will grow to approximately 260 employees in four states and its total energy portfolio will expand to 240 megawatts. Neither company could be reached for comment Monday evening and it was unclear how many of those 260 employees were in Maine.

“This acquisition is a significant step in our strategy to build an integrated solid fuel renewable energy facilities company in the U.S.,” said CEO Larry Richardson in a ReEnergy release. “We look forward to becoming corporate citizens in four communities in Maine and another community in the North Country of New York, and continuing to provide economic opportunity and clean, reliable, cost-effective renewable energy to those regions.”

According to Boralex’s investor briefing, this move allows the company to move investment away from biomass and into wind, hydroelectricity and solar. The company pointed to a project pipeline over the next few years that includes $230 million in wind projects.

The deal also reduces Boralex’s footprint in the United States while allowing growth in Canada and France, and, the company noted, “reducing the volatility of earnings through less exposure to foreign currencies.”

“We have entered into this agreement after considerable reflection by Boralex’s management and board of directors about our strategy. We have concluded that, at this stage in our development, this transaction provides Boralex with the best opportunity to pursue its growth objectives in the other areas of the renewable energy market,” said Patrick Lemaire, president and CEO.

Boralex said it expects the sale to close by the end of the year, and the deal is subject to approval by U.S. regulators.

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