BBW babcock & brown wind partners group

shootin the breezeeeee

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    Wind investors shoot the breeze
    Robert Clow
    November 01, 2006
    BABCOCK & Brown Wind Partners had good news yesterday, when chairman Peter Hofbauer told investors the wind had been blowing.
    Lack of wind and delays in new wind-farm acquisitions had caused BBW to miss its earnings targets earlier this year.

    Floated in October last year at $1.40 a share to capitalise on growing investor interest in renewable energy, Bablock & Brown Wind Partners shares were off just a touch yesterday, closing down 0.5c at $1.505.

    Mr Hofbauer told yesterday's annual general meeting in Sydney that BBW shares generated a 14.6 per cent total shareholder return in their first year.

    Bablock's global portfolio of wind farms has grown from just four at the beginning of 2005-06 to 19 today, but its small and relatively undiversified wind portfolio still meant that the lack of wind that bedeviled the group's European wind farms during the northern summer hit it especially hard.

    Mr Hofbauer moved to reassure investors that the worst was behind them, and said that the wind had picked up.

    "Whilst we are still collating final data, pleasingly, October performance is currently in line with profiled P50 performance, which, as we head into the European winter, is a significant step up from the profiled performance in the summer months," he said.

    P50 is the industry standard for measuring the long-term average energy-production gained from a wind farm.

    Mr Hofbauer reiterated BBW's 2007 guidance, given at the time of the annual results, when the directors "increased the distribution guidance for 2007 to 12.5c, up from 11.2c, the 2007 distribution contemplated at the time of the initial public offering".

    Chief executive Peter O'Connell quit yesterday to join parent firm Bablock & Brown.

    The surprise departure follows a furore recently when it was reported that Mr O'Connell had sold all his shares in BBW.

    The company had underperformed since its float last October.

    However, Mr O'Connell will continue to run the company until a new chief executive has been found.

    BBW's announcement suggested that Mr O'Connell's telecom expertise would be better deployed in the merchant bank's growing corporate finance group.

    Mr Hofbauer said Mr O'Connell had been "a major contributor to the successful implementation of BBW's strategy of building a global portfolio of wind farms of significant scale and diversity within a short period of time".

    "Peter leaves BBW in a strong position," he said
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