Saturday 24 February 2018

Mainstream in talks with Marubeni over major equity stake

Eddie O'Connor: deal would help fund global projects
Eddie O'Connor: deal would help fund global projects
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

MAINSTREAM Renewable Power – the energy firm headed by Eddie O'Connor – is engaged in talks to secure substantial fresh equity from a Japanese investment giant, the Irish Independent understands.

It's thought the amount being negotiated could run to tens of millions of euro and would make the Japanese firm one of Mainstream's single biggest investors. Mr O'Connor – a former Bord Na Mona chief executive who made about €50m from the €1.8bn sale of Airtricity in 2008 – denied to the Irish Independent last week the company was tapping new equity.

However, respected industry publication 'Sparkspread' has just revealed that a division of Japanese trading and investment heavyweight Marubeni is believed to be in advanced talks to take an equity stake in Mainstream.

'Sparkspread' says that Marubeni Europower had been leading the negotiations and could also secure first right of refusal to invest in asset-level debt of future Mainstream projects.

A spokesman for Mainstream declined to comment yesterday.

Established in 2008 after he and other investors sold Airtricity to Scottish & Southern Electricity, Mainstream has raised over €273m from backers and also secured €60m in financial backing from institutions such as Australia's Macquarie group.

It has in operation or is developing a total of 3.5 gigawatts of onshore wind and solar projects in countries from Chile to South Africa. It's also developing 7.6 gigawatts of offshore windfarms in Europe and is hoping to roll out as many as 1,700 wind turbines in Ireland's midlands for its 'Energy Bridge' project that would export billions of euro worth of power to the UK.

The new investment would help to fund the development of projects around the world including Canada and the US.

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