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Sumitomo snaps up stake in French offshore wind projects

Japanese industrial conglomerate Sumitomo Corp. is buying a minority stake in two planned offshore wind farms off the coast of France, expanding its already sizable investments in the sector.

The company signed an agreement with France's Engie SA and Portugal's EDP Renováveis to acquire a 29.5% equity stake in the Dieppe Le Tréport and Yeu Noirmoutier projects, with a planned capacity of 496 MW each, Engie said in a press release.

The French utility will retain a 31% reference stake in the project, with EDPR and Banque des Territoires, part of French public sector lender Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, owning 29.5% and 10%, respectively.

Since 2014, Sumitomo has bought minority stakes ranging from 12.5% to 39% in six offshore wind farms operating or under construction in Belgium and the U.K., totaling more than 1.5 GW of capacity. The company is also active in the wind sector in Japan, the U.S., South Africa and China.

Both of the French wind farms were among several long-held up projects that got their final approval from the French government in June of this year, albeit with lower subsidies than originally awarded. Engie announced at the end of October that it would issue tenders for subcontractors to start building the Yeu Noirmoutier project, following final approvals from the regional government.