Clipper Windpower to be Acquired by United Technologies Corp.

By George Ford

CEDAR RAPIDS - United Technologies Corp. has agreed to acquire 49.5 percent of Clipper Windpower, which operates its wind turbine assembly plant in Cedar Rapids.

Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies will pay about $270 million to purchase a combination of 84.3 million newly issued shares and 21.8 million shares from existing share owners.

The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Closing is contingent on pending shareholder and regulatory approval by Carpinteria, Calif.-based Clipper Windpower.

Clipper Windpower is involved with wind energy technology, turbine manufacturing, and wind project development. The company operates a plant at 4401 Bowling St. SW and research and development facilities in Carpinteria and Blyth Harbor, United Kingdom.

Clipper Windpower posted 2008 revenue of $737 million.

The deal enables United Technologies to expand its power generation portfolio and enter the high-growth wind power segment by investing in a company with strong management and innovative technology. The $50 billion-plus segment for wind turbines and installation has grown at an annual rate of 25 percent in the last decade.

United Technologies, in a statement disclosing its investment, said it expects to work closely with Clipper Windpower to improve the company's core technology, manufacturing, product quality, and supply management capabilities.

Clipper in January laid off 90 of its 830 global employees, citing changing conditions in the wind power industry. The Cedar Rapids plant, where the company assembles its 2.5-megawatt Liberty wind turbine, employed nearly 390 people before the staff reduction.
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