The state-backed Irish wind farm operator Greencoat Renewables has made its first acquisition outside of Ireland.
The company has agreed to buy a project in France for €30.3m.
Greencoat is buying three wind farms, with combined wind capacity of 51.9 megawatts, from John Laing Group. Completion of the deal requires French regulatory approval.
Greencoat — which is partly owned by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund — will pay for the wind farms from its existing €380m loan facility.
The company had been restricted from buying wind farm assets outside of Ireland up until last July.
However, it has previously said it has been mulling acquisition opportunities in mainland Europe and particularly in France, Belgium, Germany, Finland, and the Netherlands.
“Consistent with our long-term strategy, we are pleased to be making our first investment into the French wind market.
"The assets benefit from France’s stable regulatory regime, with the fixed-price Feed-in-Tariff guaranteeing power prices for the next 12.3 years,” said Greencoat’s investment manager Bertrand Gautier.
Mr Gautier said Greencoat will continue to seek out opportunities in mainland Europe and has the means to carry out deals.
“The acquisition will bring gearing to 43%, which is towards the lower end of our target range and will provide flexibility to pursue further opportunities as they arise.
"We are also pleased to have partnered with John Laing, again demonstrating our ability to transact with leading investors and developers across the sector,” he said.
The French portfolio of three wind farms comes with 16-year long-term fixed-rate project finance and have an overall net enterprise value of €95m.
Following the acquisition, Greencoat Renewables’ total installed capacity base will increase to 528.1 megawatts.
“France is a 25 gigawatt renewables market, biased towards onshore wind and solar. It is expected to grow to 71 gigawatts by 2030.
"Offshore wind is also expected to emerge strongly as a technology. It has been underpinned by a supportive tariff regime, typically 15 years in length,” said Davy analyst Michael Mitchell.