Gaelectric secures €92m in new funds

Company to use finance to build planned windfarm at Dunbeg, Co Derry

Gaelectric has operating windfarms in Skrine in Co Roscommon and Carn Hill in Co Antrim. Photograph: Reuters

Gaelectric has operating windfarms in Skrine in Co Roscommon and Carn Hill in Co Antrim. Photograph: Reuters

 

Wind energy group Gaelectric has agreed €92 million in new funding from a range of sources, including the National Pensions Reserve Fund’s loan facility for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Gaelectric said it would use the finance to build its planned 42MW windfarm at Dunbeg in Co Derry and for growing the company generally.

Some €30 million will be provided by BlueBay Ireland Corporate Credit, the BlueBay Asset Management Fund backed by the NPRF. This is the €450 million fund’s second loan since its launch in July, with the finance to “support the growth of all aspects of Gaelectric’s business”. BlueBay’s earlier loan was advanced in the telecoms sector.

A further €56 million is being provided to Gaelectric by Nord/LB, the German Landesbank, which also took part in the company’s €65 million fundraising earlier this year, providing €24 million at that stage.

The project debt facility will be dedicated to the Dunbeg project, which has won planning approval and has a grid connection. Commercial output at the windfarm is scheduled for August 2014, when it will become Gaelectric’s third operating windfarm after Skrine in Co Roscommon and Carn Hill in Co Antrim.

Swedish corporate finance house Proventus Capital, which also also provided previous funding for Gaelectric, is advancing €6 million in the form of portfolio finance, which allows the company to direct it as it wishes.

Gaelectric chief executive Brendan McGrath, who controls half the company along with his brother Éamonn and chief financial officer Barry Gavin, said the company’s 2013 progress had been “rapid”.

“This additional funding will allow us maintain the momentum we have created,” he said, signalling that the company will aim to launch three projects each year for the next three or four years as grid connections become available. Its next build will be at Faughary, Co Leitrim.