An Ill Wind in the Energy Patch

Rhetoric reached the boiling point as Vancouver-based Western Wind Energy Corp. waged an unsuccessful fight against a hostile takeover bid from Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP.

Western Wind announced on July 30, 2012, that the company was for sale, citing “the consistent suffering our shareholders have endured by unregulated market participants trading the stock price down to levels that only serve to frustrate and ‘shake out’ retail investors.” (The company’s shares had traded in a narrow range between $1.45 and $1.70 in the previous 12 months).

In August 2012 Brookfield announced it had acquired 16.2 per cent of Western Wind common shares, and in November announced its intention to buy all remaining shares for $2.50.

On February 8 the Ontario Securities Commission rejected Western Wind’s application to cease trading in its shares while the company seeks an independent valuation.

This week saw the two companies trading news releases, with Brookfield claiming it had acquired 80 per cent of the shares needed to claim ownership of Western Wind, and extending its offer to Feb. 21. Western Wind issued a press release in response, claiming Brookfield’s self-imposed deadline had passed and shareholders had rejected its takeover bid.

Western Wind, cited in 2010 as a rising star in B.C.’s emerging alt-energy sector, owns and operates three wind energy generation facilities in California, and one combined wind and solar energy generation facility in Arizona. Brookfield Renewable Partners LP is a division of Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

Brookfield announced on February 21 that it had acquired 66.1 per cent of issued and outstsanding shares of Western Wind, effectively completing its acquisition of the company. “We are very pleased with the successful outcome of our bid and look forward to incorporating these complementary energy assets into our renewable power portfolio,” said Richard Legault, President and CEO of Brookfield Renewable.

This story has been updated.