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Stock to watch: Wind farm developer close to finding buyer

In this Oct. 12, 2012 file photo wind turbines produce green energy in Nauen near Berlin, Germany.

Ferdinand Ostrop/AP

Finavera Wind Energy Inc.

Thursday's close: 40 cents a share, up 0.005 cents

52-week trading range: 13 cents - 52 cents a share

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Annual dividend: none

Analysts' ratings: none

Recent history: The Vancouver-based wind farm developer has faced a gale force of woes that have sent its shares plunging from its 2007 perch at nearly $9 a share. Shares of the clean-tech junior, which focuses on projects in Canada and Ireland, have languished after taking a big hit during the financial crisis. Its shares have lost 7 per cent this year, but perked up recently after Finavera put itself up for sale. At the same time, the company called off its proposed $22-million sale of its Wildmare project - one of four in British Columbia - to Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. And Ian Harvey, a company director and founder of B9 Energy Services Ltd., resigned from its board due a potential conflict with a bidder.

Outlook: Finavera updated its sale process on Nov. 16, saying it was negotiating with four suitors for an outright sale or a partnership, and another 12 groups were also looking at the company. A binding deal is expected in "short order," it said. The big attraction is the 25-year electricity contracts that it won from BC Hydro in 2010, but it has been unable to get the financing to build the windmills.

"They have exhausted their financial resources, and are late on paying a bunch of bills," said David Barr, chief investment officer of PenderFund Capital Management Ltd. "They are really being forced into a transaction...The whole renewable energy space has had a really tough time since the 2008 financial crisis."

The best case scenario for investors is that "Finavera sells everything, and gets a good value for it," said Mr. Barr, who does not own Finavera shares. He owns shares of Western Wind Energy Corp., also up for sale. "The risk to investors is that they sell their best asset, Wildmare, to help build out their next three assets. They could have sold Wildmare to Innergex...which leads me to believe that there is a higher probability that they will sell the entire company."

If they sell the whole thing, "you are getting 50 cents a share for sure, and there is probably another dollar of upside. So it could be $1.50 a share....but this is quite speculative."

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Innergex, which announced on Wednesday that it has raised $50-million from a preferred share offering, could be a potential buyer, Mr. Barr said. "Innergex is the logical one because it previously dealt with the company. Algonquin Power and some other bigger players in Canada might also look at this."

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