Deere selling windpower unit to Exelon

By Associated Press
Posted Aug. 31, 2010 at 8:30 a.m.

Deere & Co. will sell its wind energy business to a subsidiary of Exelon Corp. for $900 million, the company said Tuesday, potentially signaling an active merger and acquisition period ahead for the power industry.

With energy prices persistently low due to a grinding economic recovery, stakes in the power industry have begun to shift.

Earlier this month, Blackstone Group paid $542.7 million to take Houston’s Dynergy Inc. private. In a three-way deal, Dynergy also sold four power plants to NRG Energy Inc. for $1.36 billion in cash.

Deere said in February it was reviewing options for John Deere Renewables. It has invested $1 billion over the past five years in the financing, development and ownership of wind energy projects.

On Tuesday, Deere said the deal will allow it to get back to what it does best, which is manufacturing farm equipment.

But the wind business is new to Exelon, the largest U.S. operator of nuclear power plants.

Exelon has been a wholesale marketer of wind energy in Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The Deere business brings with it a physical infrastructure that includes 36 completed projects in eight states with an operational capacity of 735 megawatts. The projects, which will be operated by subsidiary Exelon Generation Co., could power nearly 184,000 homes, according to Energy Department figures.

The deal comes during a challenging time for the wind power industry in particular. Government stimulus money that helped expand capacity last year is running out. While many states have adopted standards requiring that a certain amount of energy come from renewable sources, Congress has yet to enact a nationwide standard.

Wind advocates say that is why wind has not reached its potential.

Exelon, however, is well positioned to ride out the economic downturn and potentially capitalize on alternative energy assets in the future.

The company reported profits of $2.7 billion last year.

“Whether harmful emissions are priced or regulated, our combined capacity of nearly 19,000 megawatts of zero-emission wind, solar, hydro, landfill gas and nuclear power remains a clear competitive advantage that will only become more valuable,” said Exelon Chairman and CEO John Rowe.

Exelon expects the acquisition to add to earnings in 2012 and to cash flows in 2013. It is funding the deal with Exelon Generation debt.

Deere said it will record a $25 million after-tax charge in the fourth-quarter. The sale was not reflected in the company’s $375 million fourth-quarter earnings estimate from earlier this month.

The initial acquisition is valued at $860 million. Deere gets the remaining $40 million when construction begins on projects that are already planned.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

Shares of Exelon Corp. fell 32 cents to $40.20 Tuesday morning. Deere fell 16 cents to $62.82.

Read more about the topics in this post: ,

Companies in this article


Read more about this company »


Read more about this company »


  1. tom0942 Aug. 31, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Maybe they figured out that Global Warming is a hoax.

  2. Basher 5-2 Aug. 31, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    “Government stimulus money that helped expand capacity last year is running out.” Never mind ‘national standards’, there’s the key point … like many “alternatives” wind power conditinoed itself to be highly dependent on government (read: taxpayer) subsidy. Much like this month’s collapse of the new housing market when “subsidy” elapsed (much to the consternation of Wash DC but no mystery to anyone in the private sector) wind goes as the subsidy money does. Make no error, if there was business case here Deere would not be unloading it. Few of us love coal but the fact is wind or other “alternatives” are not going to provide anywhere enough baseline capacity to power the grid. A useful peak to displace natural gas perhaps but depends of course on wind velocity. Want to significantly reduce greenhouse gases? Spell NUKE … obvious problems to be delt with but the only viable replacement for fossil fuel. That is unless someone can bottle the hot air from some of the ultra greenie types.