ONE of France's biggest companies is to take a controlling interest in a Dublin-based tidal power company.
The defence contractor DCNS said it has taken a 59.7pc stake in OpenHydro. The company, which had long been expected to take control of OpenHydro, said yesterday that it will pay about €130m to increase its holding from 11pc.
It is doing so through a mix of buying out existing shareholders and taking up new shares which will be issued by the company.
One of the investors it is buying out is Dublin-based investment firm One51. The firm had a 9.5pc stake in OpenHydro but was known to be looking to sell it for some time. One51 did not give any details on what it received for its shares, but at market valuations of all of OpenHydro it would have been worth in the region of €39m.
The deal is a coup for OpenHydro boss James Ives. The company employs around 90 engineers at Greenore Port in Co Louth and is running projects off Scotland, France and Canada.
The company uses turbines placed on the seabed to generate power in areas that are known for their strong tides. Mr Ives claimed they are so far underwater so as not to interfere with shipping lanes nor be an eyesore for people on land.
He said the sale of most of the business would lead to more jobs being created by the company.
"There will be expansion as a result of this announcement. We are recruiting in Ireland at the moment, and while I can't put an exact figure on how many staff we will end up taking on, we are growing and this deal gives us the ability to increase our size greatly," Mr Hyde added.
DCNS boss Patrick Boissier said the move fitted in with his company's business strategy.
"We have been looking to move into green energy for some time and OpenHydro gives us that route into the sector," he said.