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A Japanese consortium led by Mitsubishi beat out Shell amongst other bidders, to secure the purchase of Dutch energy company Eneco.

Eneco is the second-largest utility in the Netherlands and is also active in Belgium and Germany. Traditionally owned by a number of municipalities, Eneco is expected to become the central base for the partners’ ambitions in Europe.

The winning consortium consists of Mitsubishi, with an 80% stake, and Japanese utility Chubu, with the remaining 20%.

This is by no means Mitsubishi’s first foray into European energy markets, having long-established investments such as it’s 20% stake in UK energy supplier OVO and is part-owner of MHI Vestas, in partnership with the wind turbine maker.

Eneco already operates approximately 2GW of wind capacity, of which roughly one-quarter is offshore, and has approximately 300MW of solar deployed.

Eneco offers “a platform to further grow in the European market, in which we intend to have a leading position in the energy transition,” Takehiko Kakiuchi, CEO of Mitsubishi Corporation, said in a press statement.

The Japanese backing is hoped to bolster the company’s credit rating, which will hopefully better their chances of securing bigger deals in upcoming offshore wind auctions, according to the companies.

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“We respect this outcome but are disappointed,” said Maarten Wetselaar, director of Shell’s integrated gas and new energies units. “We believe that together with PGGM we made a competitive bid for Eneco, including an attractive package of non-financial terms and long-term growth plans.”

Eneco’s current CEO, Ruud Sondag, is set to resign once the deal has been finalised, with his replacement as-yet-unnamed.

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