Strong interest in Gaelectric’s €350m wind farm assets in disposal plan

Up to 20 expressions of interest have been received for Gaelectric’s wind farm portfolio, which is likely to have an equity value of between €250m and €350m, the Irish Independent understands.

The enterprise value of the wind farms, which includes debt, is likely to be around €750m.

It’s believed that a range of potential buyers, including those in the trade, investors, and pension funds are among those that have so far kicked the tyres on the assets.

It’s also understood that parties from the Far East are among those interested in the wind farms, which are also being eyed by European investors.

Gaelectric began a possible sales process earlier this year, hiring investment bank Rothschild to tease out potential buyers.

A sale could include part or all of about 200 megawatts of wind energy output, spread over 23 windfarms that are owned by Gaelectric.

Rothschild has yet to seek formal offers from potential bidders for the windfarm portfolio, but it’s understood that the sales process will be complete in either the current or third quarter of the year.

Gaelectric, whose chief executive is Brendan McGrath, was founded in 2004 and owns 13 windfarms in Northern Ireland and nine in the Republic.

It recently acquired the 46MW Cloghboola windfarm in Co Kerry for €60m from Enercon, using hybrid project financing secured through Nord/LB.

The windfarm is among the assets that might be sold by Gaelectric.

Earlier this month, the company opened another windfarm, a 12 megawatt project at Monnaboy in Co Derry. Gaelectric has previously set a target of having 400 megawatts of operational windfarms by 2017.

The company’s ultimate sale strategy will be dependent on the proposals it receives from potential buyers.

It’s likely that Gaelectric could seek to continue being involved in the wind farms as an operator and maintenance provider for the assets it sells.

Gaelectric intends to use the proceeds of the wind farm sale to invest in other renewable energy assets and projects, including energy storage, solar and bioenergy, as well as energy trading.

US private equity giant Lonestar now has an 8pc stake in Gaelectric, after the American firm acquired debts owed by Gaelectric’s co-founder, Eamonn McGrath, to IBRC.

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