Ryanair's Michael Cawley hooks up with Prepay Power
Michael Cawley, the highly regarded Ryanair number two, has joined up with entrepreneur Andrew Collins' fast-growing energy group PrepayPower.ie.
Last July, Cawley announced that he would be stepping down as Ryanair's deputy chief executive and chief operating officer in order to pursue other opportunities. He is set to leave his executive role next March. However, Cawley will join the main Ryanair board as a non-executive director.
The Cork-born accountant has been at Michael O'Leary's shoulder since joining the low-cost carrier in 1997. Earlier this year, he joined the board of Patrick Kennedy's €3bn-valued bookie Paddy Power.
Prepay Power was set up by Andrew Collins, following his sale of online insurance firm 123.ie for €83m in 2010. Ion Equity's Ulric Kenny is chairman of the company, which provides pre-paid metered energy to budget-conscious households. It is the biggest prepaid energy supplier in the country.
Collins previously ran Needahotel.com with former Dragons' Den star Sarah Newman, before it was sold to Cendant for about €50m. Needahotel.com was Ryanair's hotel partner, which created the link between Collins and Cawley.
Prepay Power has been growing spectacularly fast over the last year and is likely to comfortably beat its target of 65,000 customers by the end of the year.
This will give it a market share of around 3.5 per cent less than two years after it started selling its service to customers. The company sells electricity to households via specially installed meters. These meters are supplied free of charge. Customers top up their electricity by entering special codes purchased online or from a network of retailers.
Rival firm Pinergy, which is promoted by Ireland Rugby captain Paul O'Connell, is also active in the market.
Last September, Prepay Power announced that it was to raise €4m in a loan note to fund its further expansion in the domestic market, dominated by ESB, Bord Gais and Airtricity. The three-year loan note is expected to be issued in early in 2014 and will pay a coupon 12 per cent a year.
Prepay Power has raised about €20m in investment from backers since it was set up in late 2009.