Former Quinn wind farm sold for €127m

UK-based Platina buys facility in Slieve Rushen Co Fermanagh

Platina Partners, a London- based renewable energy investor, has acquired a giant wind farm for £100 million (€127 million) from the S

tate-appointed administrators of Quinn Insurance.

Thomas Rottner, managing director of Platina, confirmed yesterday his firm had been successful in acquiring the 54- megawatt wind farm in Slieve Rushen, Co Fermanagh. It was originally developed by business tycoon Seán Quinn in 1994, making it one of the first in the country.

Attacks

Asked if he believes attacks against assets formerly owned by Mr Quinn along the Border had had an impact on the sale process, Mr Rottner said: “Not particularly. I understand that a lot of the threats are not necessarily related to the insurance company.

“We looked at this as a business proposal. Every country has a different way of doing things. We are always aware of local sensitivities. There was competition. Clearly the people running the auction couldn’t tell us, but we had to fight to get it.”

The Irish Times understands that seven bidders were selected to enter the second round of bidding. Platina was one of three parties in the final run of bidding in a process handled by Investec on the behalf of Grant Thornton, the administer of Quinn Insurance.

Mr Rottner founded Platina in 2002 and his firm had €380 million of assets under management in the wind, solar and bio energy sectors prior to this latest acquisition. It currently operates 540MW of wind farms and solar energy plants in nine European countries.

Mr Rottner said his fund was backed by a mixture of pension funds, banks and funds of funds. He said he had not spoken to Mr Quinn in relation to the sale.

Annual revenue

The Slieve Rushen wind farm generates annual revenue of £17 million (€19.9 million) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £15 million (€17.5 million), according to a document circulated to potential bidders.

The sale price, while better than expected, will not be enough to make any significant dent in the Insurance Compensation Fund, which was set up to cover customers of insurance firms that run into difficulty, such as Quinn Insurance.

The administrators of Quinn Insurance have now sold most of its non-core assets with the exception of a building in Dublin city centre and a small number of apartments.

There have been more than 70 attacks against the former Quinn Group. Now called Aventas, the group controls a valuable glass-making business along with some small manufacturing divisions controlled by various banks and hedge funds.

Quinn Insurance has not been attacked, however. Is has been owned by the State since it was placed into administration.