Sunday 22 July 2018

US investors paid €42m for fibre firm Enet, new accounts reveal

Conal Henry, Enet chief executive officer
Conal Henry, Enet chief executive officer
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

US investment group Granahan McCourt and other investors paid €42.5m to buy Enet, the Irish company that manages the State's broadband Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs), new accounts for the business reveal.

Granahan McCourt Capital and other investors including Oak Hill Advisors bought Enet in 2013 but didn't reveal the purchase price at the time.

Walter Scott, who's on the board of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, also took a stake in the acquisition.

Newly-filed accounts for one of the firms behind the acquisition show that the investors paid €42.5m for Enet, which included €16.8m of cash that was on the Irish firm's balance sheet at the time.

Accounts for Enet also show that profits at the company jumped 28pc to €7.3m in its last financial year as the company slashed its administrative expenses. Its revenue rose almost 5pc to €22.8m in the year to the end of April 2014.

The company manages 94 MANs around the country under contract for the Government. Those MANs, which were funded by the taxpayer and the EU, were designed to bring high-speed wholesale bandwidth to towns and cities.

The latest set of accounts just filed at the Companies Office show that Enet cut its administrative expenses to just over €7m in its last financial year from nearly €8.8m previously.

"The lack of growth in the wider economy continues to provide challenges in the telecommunications market and may result in consolidation and rationalisation of the company's operator customer base," the accounts note.

Last year, mobile operator Three bought O2 Ireland. But CarphoneWarehouse and UPC are also poised to enter the mobile telecoms market.

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