FORMER meat mogul Paschal Phelan has sealed a €1bn deal in his adopted home of South Africa. Meanwhile the bargain hotel assets on offer here haven't escaped his notice.
The Kilkenny native was first known for the beef export empire he built in the Eighties before selling to his Jordanian partner. A €20m court battle in which Phelan alleged he was forced out of business by Larry Goodman was settled in 2002. Shortly after he set off for Cape Town.
There he built and lavishly kitted out the five-star Cape Royal Hotel, overlooking Table Mountain. He also set up Solar Capital to harness South Africa's massive sun energy potential and to capitalise on the country's chronic power shortage problems. It has just won a €1.15bn contract to supply the country's national grid in partnership with the national energy provider, Eskom. A further €888,000 deal is due to close in March 2013.
Two huge solar farms, each with 1m photovoltaic panels, are being built in the Karoo region in the Northern Cape. The plan is to develop up to 25 solar farms on 50,000 hectares. Solar's land there is also rich in valuable shale gas.
Phelan owns 85 per cent of Solar, and the other shareholders are ex-World Bank MD Mamphela Ramphele, South African World Cup organiser Danny Jordaan, and former Eskom chairman Bobby Godsell.
Phelan has recently had a financial guy running the rule over potential assets in Ireland, with circa €50m to spend "on the right stuff" early in the New Year, he says.
Sunday Indo Business