Business Irish

Thursday 14 November 2019

Mainstream raises €77m in bid to continue its worldwide expansion

Eddie O'Connor, Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power. Photo: Tom Burke
Eddie O'Connor, Chief Executive of Mainstream Renewable Power. Photo: Tom Burke
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

EDDIE O'Connor's Mainstream Renewable Power has raised €60m in new loans and €16.8m from private investors in its biggest ever capital raising.

The cash is being raised as Dublin-headquartered Mainstream drives forward with ambitious expansion plans. The company is developing windfarms as far afield as South Africa and Chile.

Mainstream said it has signed a €60m loan agreement with Australia's Macquarie.

Under the deal, Mainstream gets €40m of so called "mezzanine" funding up front, with the rest to be drawn down over time.

Private investors have provided €16.8m in fresh equity as part of the fundraising round, and the company said it may target further equity raising.

It is currently involved in a raft of projects around the world. In June, Mainstream sought permission to develop connections between the power grids in Ireland and UK which it hopes could eventually see wind farms set up here to target the export market.

In July the company was part of a consortium that bid for the rights to build a €1.7bn wind farm off the coast of Scotland. It is already developing wind farms off Germany and England.

In South Africa Mainstream is about to start work on a wind farm and two solar power projects. It is currently developing wind farms in Chile and Canada.

Mainstream chief executive Mr O'Connor said the fund raising steps up its ambitions.

"After going through our initial development stage, Mainstream is now embarking on a very strong growth trajectory," he said.

"We have started construction on more than 325MW of wind and solar projects in four countries, and this investment means we will be bringing more projects into construction as well as expanding our global project development portfolio."

Macquarie said Mainstream's focus on developing wind farms at sea was a major selling point.

"We believe Mainstream is uniquely positioned to benefit from the development of the offshore wind sector, which will play an increasingly important part in the generation mix over the next decade," Macquarie's David Fass said in yesterday's statement.

Former Bord na Mona chief Mr O'Connor set up Mainstream in 2008 with €50m of his share in the €1.8bn made when he sold his previous venture, Airtricity, to E.ON and Scottish and Southern Energy after expanding from Ireland into the North American market.

The ambitions for new venture Mainstream are on an even bigger scale.

The company currently employs 150 people and is involved in developing more than 50 wind power and solar power projects around the world.

Irish Independent

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