Business

TransAlta in deal with Warren Buffett firm

Calgary-based TransAlta Corp. today announced a new strategic partnership with American billionaire Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., where the U.S. firm will fund half the cost of natural gas-fueled power plants built or bought by TransAlta.
TransAlta CEO Dawn Farrell, shown in April, says more than $200 billion worth of new investment in power generation is needed in Canada over the next 20 years. (Todd Korol/Reuters)

Calgary-based TransAlta Corp. today announced a new strategic partnership with American billionaire Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., where the U.S, firm will fund half the cost of natural gas-fueled power plants built or bought by TransAlta.

"The creation of this partnership is a new and exciting development in our growth strategy and better positions the two companies to pursue significant growth opportunities in Canada," said TransAlta CEO Dawn Farrell.

"Studies are showing that more than $200 billion worth of new investment in power generation is needed in Canada over the next 20 years. MidAmerican is a strong partner to enable us to capture a sizable share of that market opportunity, and this project will build off our already existing business relationship, which dates back to 2001."

"At MidAmerican, we have been seeking an entry point to the Canadian electricity generation market, where we see strong potential for growth," CEO Greg Abel said in a statement.

TransAlta's deal with Des Moines, Iowa,-based MidAmerican covers all new natural gas-fuelled generation opportunities considered by either firm in Canada, including TransAlta's proposed Sundance 7 project, an up to 800-megawatt project based in Alberta.

TransAlta will be responsible for construction management, operation and maintenance of projects that proceed.

Announcement of the deal came as TransAlta reported third quarter net income of $56 million, or 24 cents a share, on revenue of $538 million.

That compared with $50 million, or 22 cents per share, on revenue of $629 million in the same 2011 period.

With files from The Canadian Press

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