Monday 18 November 2019

Dubliner behind €110m IPO of super-battery fund

Financier Alex O’Cinneide says he has a £670m pipeline of 65 projects to choose from
Financier Alex O’Cinneide says he has a £670m pipeline of 65 projects to choose from

John Reynolds

DUBLIN financier Alex O'Cinneide is to list a grid-scale battery investment fund on London's Stock Exchange, aiming to raise €110m (£100m).

The fund, which claims to be the world's first investing only in batteries, is seeking to attract Irish investors, and hopes to invest in utility scale battery installations for the power grid here.

O'Cinneide, who has a background in investment in the renewable energy and technology sectors, has secured backing from Japanese lithium-ion battery manufacturer NEC - who will invest up to £8m. Japanese engineering firm Nippon Koei has pledged up to £6m.

Mr O'Cinneide and his management colleagues at his firm Gore Street Capital are investing £2.4m.

Former MEP and European Parliament President Pat Cox chairs the fund.

It will also have a commercial partnership with electric car, Hyperloop and space exploration pioneer Elon Musk's US battery manufacturer Tesla.

It will supply batteries for a number of installations in the UK in which the fund will invest.

One using Tesla batteries, with 4MW of capacity, already operates in Swansea.

Trinity College graduate O'Cinneide's Gore Street Capital is backed by a sum of his own money, as well as Paladin Capital - which is a minority investor in his firm.

He previously headed a €320m cybersecurity technology venture capital fund for Paladin.

Britain's power infrastructure requires substantial foreign investment as an increasing number of ageing gas and nuclear power plants will be taken out of use in the coming years.

Utility-scale batteries are one way to address this, drawing power from the grid at night and storing it to release back during peak demand.

"Energy storage will be a key component of clean energy usage, and a very large market. We have a £670m pipeline of 65 projects, and we can pick and choose to get the best ones," said O'Cinneide.

"After 12 to 18 months, on the back of a successful strategy, we will look to raise future rounds.

"This is the world's first listed energy storage fund. Our target is to deliver a very strong return of 7pc.

"We're marketing this opportunity both in Ireland and the UK, to pension fund managers, large institutional investors and multi-manager funds. It's also open to retail investors."

The initial focus is on the UK, but the fund also sees opportunities in Ireland, he said.

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