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D.E. Shaw’s First Wind Holdings withdraws $240 million initial share sale

First Wind Holdings Inc., the operator of wind-energy projects backed by D.E. Shaw & Co. and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, said it withdrew its initial public offering because of unfavorable market conditions.

The company had already postponed an offering of 12 million Class A shares at $18 to $20 each last month. Boston-based First Wind, which planned to use proceeds to pay down debt and fund project development and construction, had earlier cut the per- share price of its IPO from as much as $26.

Wind turbine installations in the U.S., the world’s biggest market, dropped 75 percent in the third quarter as slowing demand for new sources of electricity and cheap natural gas made renewable energy less attractive, according to the American Wind Energy Association. First Wind and 60 other companies have postponed or withdrawn U.S. IPOs this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The company withdrew the registration statement for its IPO “because of unfavorable market conditions that would adversely affect the offering,” First Wind said today in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The operator of wind farms from Maine to Hawaii had hired Credit Suisse Group AG of Zurich, New York-based Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG in Frankfurt to lead the IPO.

D.E. Shaw

D.E. Shaw, the hedge fund firm started by David Shaw, was not planning to sell shares in the offering. The New York-based fund’s holding of First Wind’s Class A shares would have dropped to 51 percent from 100 percent, filings show. D.E. Shaw planned to maintain its 18 percent stake in First Wind’s Class B stock.

Madison Dearborn, the Chicago-based private equity firm, would have retained its 72 percent stake in First Wind’s Class B stock after the IPO, according to the filing.

First Wind’s annual revenue increased almost fivefold from 2006 to 2009, according to the prospectus. In the nine months ended Sept. 30, First Wind’s sales climbed 52 percent to $88 million from the same period a year earlier. The company has accumulated losses of $233 million since its inception.

The withdrawal came after concern that Europe’s debt crisis and China’s efforts to curb inflation will slow the global economy helped pushed the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down as much as 3.9 percent from a two-year high on Nov. 5.