Tractebel North America (TNA), a subsidiary of Paris-based SUEZ, said it is increasing its focus on its U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) and retail energy businesses and is selling Ripon Cogeneration, which operates two gas-fired cogeneration plants in California.

Two private equity firms, Lightyear Capital LLC and Rockland Capital Energy Investments LLC, paid $80 million for Ripon, which owns and operates the 49 MW Ripon cogeneration facility, 70 miles south of Sacramento, and the 41 MW San Gabriel cogeneration facility in Pomona, CA. Both facilities hold long-term agreements to serve regulated utilities in their respective service areas.

Tractebel said that although it still has 59 power, cogeneration, steam, and chilled-water facilities with 5,717 MW of generation capacity, it intends to broaden its focus on domestic LNG projects and retail energy.

“Over time we had created added value around our California cogeneration facilities via the sale of NOx credits, but these assets were no longer geographically aligned with those U.S. markets where we have an important presence and desire to focus our operations,” said William P. Utt, CEO of TNA. “While divesting these assets, TNA is focusing its growth on its liquefied natural gas (LNG) and retail energy businesses.

“Since entering the U.S. LNG sector in 2000, we have significantly expanded shipping and throughput capacity at our LNG receiving terminal in Everett, MA, and are currently developing two proposed LNG receiving facilities, located in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico.”

Tractebel also launched its retail energy business in late 2002 to provide electricity and related energy services to commercial and industrial customers. “We exceeded first-year expectations and have already established a client base valued at nearly $650 million in contracts, representing more than 1,500 MW and 4,000 customer accounts, and we anticipate a similar rate of growth in our second full year of operation,” Utt said.

In Mexico, TNA operates three natural gas distribution companies, located in Guadalajara, Queretaro and Tampico. It also operates cogeneration plants in Tampico and Monterrey and claims to be the only company in Mexico with the capacity to offer integrated solutions regarding natural gas, electricity and energy-related services.

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