Wilbur Ross To Invest in China Longyuan Power

HONG KONG (Reuters) – U.S. billionaire investor Wilbur Ross plans to buy shares of China Longyuan Power Group, Asia’s largest wind power generator, which aims to raise up to $2.2 billion from its Hong Kong initial public offering, according to a preliminary prospectus.

Longyuan has landed four cornerstone investors for a combined $330 million worth of shares, according to a preliminary prospectus obtained by Reuters on Monday.

WLR IV CLPG L.P, a company controlled by Wilbur Ross, has agreed to subscribe to what may be $100 million worth of Longyuan’s shares, according to the prospectus.

Ross, the founder of New York-based private equity firm WL Ross & Co, holds investments in firms in a wide range of sectors, from low-cost Indian airline SpiceJet Ltd (SPJT.BO) to bond insurer Assured Guaranty Ltd (AGO.N).

Ross is known for restructuring failed companies, particularly in the steel industry, where he negotiated a deal with labour unions that many said saved International Steel Group.

Last year, he acquired H&R Block Inc’s (HRB.N) subprime mortgage servicing operations for $1.3 billion.

WL Ross, formed by Ross in 2000, has been a part of fund manager Invesco Ltd (IVZ.N) since 2006.

Longyuan is the largest wind power generator in Asia and the fifth-largest in the world. It had a 24 percent share of China’s wind power market in terms of total installed capacity as of the end of 2008, according a UBS report citing wind power research company BTM Consult.

The three other cornerstone investors are China Life Insurance Group, Value Partners Ltd, and Bank of East Asia’s (0023.HK) Chairman David Li Kwok-po, which plan to subscribe to $180 million, $30 million and $20 million worth of shares, respectively.

Longyuan plans to raise up to $2.2 billion by selling 2.1 billion shares, or 30 percent of its enlarged share capital, at a price range indicated between HK$6.26 and HK$8.16 per share. [ID:nHKG306183]

The company initially planned to raise around $700 million through the IPO, sources told Reuters in July, but boosted its expectations because of stronger than anticipated demand.

The deal has attracted big funds to subscribe as investors scramble to tap China’s surging renewable energy sector, which Beijing has pushed in recent years. Longyuan’s offering price represents a multiple of about 22 times to 28.9 times forecast 2010 earnings and a postshoe multiple of 23 times to 30 times, a source close to the deal said.

By comparison, global wind peer Spain’s Iberdrola Renovables (IBR.MC) trades at 28 times 2010 forecast earnings and EDP Renovaveis (EDPR.LS) trades at 30 times.

Longyuan kicked off its marketing roadshow on Monday and plans to price its shares on Dec. 3, with trading expected to begin on Dec 10.

(US$1=HK$7.75) (Reporting by Kennix Chim, Editing by Chris Lewis and Jonathan Hopfner)