Aussies target Irish wind energy assets for €200m
Australian investment group AMP Capital has agreed to buy wind energy assets in Ireland from Viridian -- possibly for as much as €200m, it's understood.
It's believed that the firm has secured the deal, which includes wind farms in Roscommon, Sligo and Donegal, following a sales process that formally began back in February.
The wind energy assets are held by Viridian's Dublin-based Eco Wind subsidiary.
AMP Capital is the firm that last year was awarded a mandate by Irish Life Investment Management (ILIM) to manage the €1bn Irish Infrastructural Trust. The trust, to which the National Pensions Reserve Fund has contributed €250m, has been established with a view to investing in state-owned assets earmarked for sale by the Government or in new infrastructural projects.
Will Ainger, the editor of 'Sparkspread', the industry publication that first reported the AMP Capital deal with Viridian, said the transaction was "good news" for Viridian as the company needed to free up cash to service and pay some expensive high-yield bonds issued in March.
Viridian's owner, Bahrain-based private equity firm Arcapita, put Eco Wind Power up for sale in order to pay down debt related to its acquisition of Viridian.
Eco Wind's assets include 104 megawatts of projects that are either completed or still in the development process. Among them are seven operational wind farms in Sligo, Donegal and Roscommon that have a combined capacity of 44.4 megawatts.
Eco Wind also owns two projects in Northern Ireland.
Viridian sold its transmission and distribution business, Northern Ireland Electricity, to the ESB last year for about £1.2bn (€1.5bn).
ILIM recently established two firms -- Project Cyclone 1 and Project Cyclone 2 -- that will be used to acquire Irish infrastructural assets.