Business Irish

Monday 16 September 2019

Mainstream has €1bn of investment power

Mainstream founder Eddie O'Connor
Mainstream founder Eddie O'Connor

Erich Zann

Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewables is planning to channel €1bn into a three-year expansion plan.

That’s enough to build out nearly two gigawatts of wind and solar projects across three continents, according to the group.

Earlier this month, Mainstream sold an offshore wind project under development off the coast of Scotland to Electricite de France for €500m.

The company is tweaking its strategy and in future will look to retain ownership of the projects it builds, rather than selling them to investors as it has previously done. “The challenge at the corporate level, to fund our development activities, is gone now. We are very well capitalized, with lots of cash on the balance sheet,” chief executive officer Andy Kinsella said in an interview in London.

“We have had to flip assets over the years to keep ourselves funded. We would have preferred not to do it, but we wanted to keep the business going and growing. We now have the funds to be able to retain equity.”

Mainstream has received a total of €850m from sales of its offshore wind projects in Europe. Combined with a trade facility and corporate debt, it now has access to €1bn of cash.

The company is now pivoting its attention to what it calls “growth markets.” It’s working on large-scale wind and solar farms in Chile, Egypt, Vietnam, Senegal and South Africa.

Mr Kinsella said he expected to reach financial close on eight projects in 2018. Mainstream is also planning to expand into Colombia and Australia, and looking at Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. “There’s a few things we’re doing differently, but the main thing is that we’re getting there first,” he said. (Bloomberg)

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