Belfast Telegraph

Value of energy firm soars on Ulster projects

A FOUNDER of Irish wind energy group Gaelectric Holdings could see the value of his stake in the company soar to more than €60m (£48.5m), eight years after it was set up.

The firm announced last week it had secured planning permission for two on-shore wind energy projects in Co Londonderry.

Gaelectric also announced that it has hired Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets to help it raise €60m for projects the company is planning across Ireland.

If the fundraising is successful, the value of Gaelectric Holdings would increase by about €100m (£80.8m) to more than €250m (£202m), according to industry sources. A company spokesman said that it hoped to secure funding by year's end.

Gaelectric Holdings was set up in 2004 by brothers Eamonn and Brendan McGrath, and its chief financial officer Barry Gavin.

Eamonn McGrath, a former director of Aon Consulting who heads up Gaelectric's operations in Montana, USA, owns about a quarter of the company. He stands to see his stake in Gaelectric increase from about €38m (£31m) to more than €60m if the fundraising is secured.

Brendan McGrath and Barry Gavin each own about 11%. The fundraising, if successful, would push the value of each of their stakes up from about €17m (£13.7m) to €28m (£22.6m).

The McGrath brothers are from Artane in Dublin. Brendan, who started off his career in 1968 as a management trainee with Smurfit Packaging, was chairman of St Vincent's GAA Club in Dublin for about 10 years.

Michael Jacob, a former director with IBRC, is also director of Gaelectric Holdings. The company has more than 30 shareholders.

Gaelectric says its on-shore Irish pipeline could supply wind energy to about 110,000 homes.

The new Co Derry farms will be at Smulgedon near Dungiven and at Monnaboy on Loughtermore Mountain.

Gaelectric is currently building a 13.8MW farm at Carn Hill project outside Belfast, which will go into operation early next year.