Wednesday 22 November 2017

Gaelectric founder's stake will top €60m after funding

Louise McBride

Louise McBride

ONE of the founders of the Irish wind energy group Gaelectric Holdings could be about to see the value of his stake in the company soar to more than €60m, eight years after it was set up.

Gaelectric announced last week that it has hired Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets to help it raise €60m for projects the company is planning across Ireland.

If the fundraising is successful, the value of Gaelectric Holdings would increase by about €100m to more than €250m, according to industry sources. A spokesman for the company said that it hoped to secure the funding by the end of the year.

Gaelectric Holdings was set up in 2004 by brothers Eamonn and Brendan McGrath, and Barry Gavin -- the company's chief financial officer.

Eamonn McGrath, a former director of Aon Consulting who heads up Gaelectric's operations in Montana, USA, owns about a quarter of the company. He stands to see his stake in Gaelectric increase from about €38m to more than €60m if the fundraising is secured.

Brendan McGrath and Barry Gavin each own about 11 per cent. The fundraising, if successful, would push the value of each of their stakes up from about €17m to €28m.

The McGrath brothers are from Artane in Dublin. Brendan, who started off his career in 1968 as a management trainee with Smurfit Packaging, was chairman of St Vincent's GAA Club in Dublin for about 10 years.

Michael Jacob, a former director with IBRC, is also director of Gaelectric Holdings. The company has more than 30 shareholders, including Peter Ledbetter -- a former director of Permanent TSB.

Gaelectric says its current on-shore Irish pipeline could supply wind energy to about 110,000 homes.

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