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Carlyle adds power plants, new fund to energy mix

Carlyle Group, with an energy portfolio of about $28 billion, has recently added six power plants to its Cogentrix platform. The firm is also raising an international energy fund with a target of $1.5 billion.

Tapping into its $1.2 billion Carlyle Infrastructure Partners LP, as well as a managed account called Carlyle Power Opportunities Capital Partners LP, Carlyle Group said it’s buying one natural gas-fired plant in Sayreville, N.J., from Energy Capital Partners. Carlyle Group is also acquiring five California plants from an affiliate of Starwood Energy Group Global Blackstone Group LP’s CalPeak portfolio, and other affiliates of Starwood Energy Group Global and Tyr Energy.

Carlyle Group didn’t disclose financials of the deals, but the acquisitions will bring the total enterprise value of power asset transactions to more than $1.2 billion since the firm bought Cogentrix, an independent power producer, from Goldman Sachs Group Inc, last year.  Robert Mancini, chairman of Cogentrix and a managing director of Carlyle Group, also co-heads Carlyle Infrastructure Partners, having joining the firm from Goldman Sachs.

Predicting more deals to come, Mancini said in a statement that Carlyle Group sees “significant opportunities” for acquisitions and development in power.

To keep its war chest filled, Carlyle Group is trying to raise about $1.5 billion for Carlyle International Energy Partners, according to a report by sister news service Reuters. The firm’s vintage 2011 Carlyle Energy Mezzanine Opportunities Fund drew $1.4 billion. A Carlyle Group spokesman declined to comment on fundraising.

It has been about five months since Carlyle Group hired a six-person international energy investment team led by Marcel van Poecke, who ran Petroplus during Carlyle Group’s ownership of the European refiner from 2005 to 2007. The team plans to focus on oil and gas exploration and production, midstream, oil field services, refining and marketing in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Other big pieces of Carlyle Group’s energy strategy include its deal last December to pay $424 million for a 47.5 percent stake in NGP Energy Capital Management, which runs a $13 billion family of private equity funds. Carlyle Group hailed the NGP Energy Capital Management deal as the cornerstone of its “growing natural resources investing platform.”

Carlyle Group also owns a majority stake in Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the largest continuously operating refinery on the East Coast, in a 2012 deal heralded as the saver of 850 jobs, since the transaction with Sunoco kept the refinery from closing. At the time, Philadelphia Energy Solutions said it could also add up to 200 more jobs.

Carlyle Group’s energy strategy had previously centered on its Riverstone Holdings LLC alliance, which ended in 2011 after more than a decade and six co-named funds.

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