Marubeni Buys Japan Electricity Plant in Domestic Expansion Push

Jan 10, 2014 12:51 am ET

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Marubeni Corp., the biggest Japanese investor in electricity generation outside of utility companies, bought a 100-megawatt power plant near Tokyo as it seeks to expand domestically.

Marubeni takes over the gas-fired plant from F-Power Co., an independent power producer, Marubeni said today in a statement on its website, without disclosing financial terms. The deal is part of a 150 billion yen ($1.43 billion) plan to expand in thermal power in Japan, the Nikkei said today, citing no one.

The company can’t comment on future plans, beyond noting its desire to expand the power business in Japan, a spokesman for Marubeni in Tokyo said, asking not to be named in line with corporate policy.

A trader of copper, coal and food produce, Marubeni has grown its power generation capacity abroad to amass more than 9,100 megawatts, the equivalent of nine nuclear reactors. While power has grown to be Marubeni’s third-biggest earner after metals and energy, its electricity business in Japan remains limited to the smaller-scale renewable projects because of the dominance domestic utilities have in the market.

Marubeni is scheduled in March to start an 81.5 megawatt solar plant in Kyushu, western Japan. It will be the biggest one of its kind in the country on a single site, according to the trader’s website.

The trader has also focused on building off-shore wind farms in Japan, including off the coast of Fukushima, site of the 2011 nuclear disaster, while running eight micro-hydro stations in the north of the country.

To add to its domestic renewables focus, Marubeni aims to own 5 thermal power plants in the Tokyo area by 2016, the Nikkei said. This includes the plant bought from F-Power and the construction of 2 gas-fired and 2 coal-fired plants, each with a capacity of 100 megawatts, the newspaper said.

--Editors: Keith Gosman, Iain Wilson