The right place at the right time -- Is it kismet? No, it's AES, one of the world's leading independent power producers. The company has interests in more than 120 generation facilities in about 30 countries throughout the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East that gave it a net generating capacity of 40,500 MW in 2010. AES sells electricity to utilities and other energy marketers through wholesale contracts or on the spot market. AES also sells power directly to customers worldwide through stakes in distribution utilities, mainly in Latin America. The company has more than 2,000 MW of power plants under development in six countries. In 2011 AES acquired DPL in a $4.7 billion deal.
The acquisition, which involves $3.5 billion in cash and $1.2 billion in assumed debt, allows AES to complement its nearby Indianapolis Power and Light unit with another utility operating in a US growth market. Following the transaction DPL remains as a standalone company.
AES saw its revenue dip in 2009 as the combination of global recession weakening power demand and unfavorable foreign exchange rates hampered the company's performance. Acquisitions, favorable foreign exchange rates and increase rates and generation helped to lift AES' revenues in 2010. Net income slumped that year however, driven by impairment losses related to a number of underperforming generation plants in the US and Hungary, and a decrease in the gain on the sale of investments due to the sale of businesses in Northern Kazakhstan.
To reduce carbon emissions the company is developing alternative energy power plants, including wind, hydro, and biomass. In 2010, AES Wind Generation had 30 plants with more than 1,400 MW of generating capacity in operation in four countries. The company is one of the largest producers of wind power in the US. It also has some 300 MW of wind generation under construction outside the US. In 2008 it formed AES Solar Energy, a joint venture with investment firm Riverstone Holdings. The project has begun commercial operations at nine solar plants in Spain, generating some 33 MW of power.
In a bid to further diversify its fuel sources in 2010, AES acquired Premier Power Limited (PPL), owner of the 1,246 MW natural gas-fired Ballylumford Power Station in County Antrim, Northern Ireland for £102 million ($166 million). The PPL transaction will give AES a total capacity of 1,868 MW, operating approximately 15% of the generation capacity in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
However, AES is still fond of older methods of power generation. AES has earmarked $150 million to build a coal-fueled power plant in El Salvador. The 250 MW plant will be the first of its kind in the Latin American country. Owning four of the five electricity distribution companies in El Salvador, AES controls nearly 80% of the country's electric distribution utility.
In 2008 the company boosted it assets in the Philippines, acquiring the 660 MW Masinloc coal-fired power plant in Barangay Bula, Zambales Province, Luzon, for $930 million. It began an $800 million expansion of that facility in 2010.
AES also sought to take advantage of the privatization of power generation in Turkey by forming a joint venture in 2010 with energy giant Koc.
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