Mainstream investors retain 25% stake as Aker deal closes

Agreement includes a potential €100 million payment in 2023 if certain performance conditions are met

Eddie O’Connor, co-founder and chairman Mainstream Renewable Power. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Eddie O’Connor, co-founder and chairman Mainstream Renewable Power. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

 

Mainstream Renewable Power’s long-standing investors have reinvested and retained a 25 per cent stake in the wind and solar energy group as Norwegian investments company Aker closed a deal to take control of the business in a transaction that values it at up to €1 billion.

The deal, originally unveiled in January, includes a potential €100 million payment in 2023 if certain performance conditions are met.

It valued Mainstream founder and chairman Eddie O’Connor’s 55 per cent stake at as much as €550 million. It also represented a return of up to 5½ times the investment for Mainstream’s original investors, including a number of Irish high-net worth individuals that backed the Dublin-based company when it was set up in 2008.

Aker Horizons, which is focused on renewable energy and green technology, has taken a 75 per cent stake and existing investors in Mainstream, led by Mr O’Connor, have reinvested some of the proceeds to retain a 25 per cent stake in the business.

Mainstream declined to comment on the exact stake Mr O’Connor has retained in the company.

“Aker Horizons has a clear ambition to develop Mainstream into a renewable energy major,” says Kristian Roekke, chief executive of Aker Horizons on Tuesday on the conclusion of the deal.

Plans

As part of the deal, the Norwegian company is also acquiring a 45.6 per cent stake in Supernode, a company set up by Mr O’Connor and Mainstream in 2018 that is developing superconducting cable systems to transfer bulk power.

Mr Roekke said in January that the aim is for an initial public offering of Mainstream within the next two to three years.

Mainstream, led by chief executive Mary Quaney, said the deal will allow the group to accelerate its global expansion plans to bring 5.5 gigawatts of wind and solar assets to financial close by 2023. That’s slightly higher than the current peak-energy demand in the Republic.

Mainstream, set up by Mr O’Connor in 2008 after the sale of the Airtricity business he had developed, is undergoing a period of major expansion across Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa as well as in the offshore wind sector globally.

It has about 1.9 gigawatts of projects in construction or pre-construction across Chile, Egypt, Senegal and South Africa. It has an additional development pipeline of almost 10 gigawatts of projects at various stages in countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia and Colombia.