Mainstream sees its assets grow 37% ahead of sale

Power company has hired investment bank Rothschild to find equity partner to help finance the development of its projects

Green energy entrepreneur Eddie O’Connor’s Mainstream Renewable Power, which is currently on the market, saw its total assets grow by 37 per cent to €645.7 million last year as the value of certain pipeline projects rose.

However, the company’s net profit dropped to €19.4 million from €487.5 million for 2018, according to its latest set of accounts provided to The Irish Times.

The result for the previous year was driven by the sale of a Scottish offshore wind farm project to French utilities giant EDF in a deal worth up to €650 million. Mainstream received €56.6 million of the proceeds from the sale in late 2019, helping the company to deliver total revenue of €70.7 million for the year.

Mainstream hired investment bank Rothschild last December to find an equity partner to help finance the development of its pipeline of projects over the long term.

This has, as expected, flushed out bid interest from a number of overseas utility groups, as well as sovereign wealth and private equity funds for the entire group.

Industry sources said earlier this year that the company may be worth more than €1 billion based on its projects pipeline. A preferred bidder is expected to be identified by the end of December.

Mainstream announced the surprise departure of its chief executive of three years, Andy Kinsella, in August. He subsequently lodged a lawsuit against the company in the High Court on September 25th. Court records show the dispute is currently subject to a mediation process.

A spokesman for Mainstream, which is now headed by its former chief financial officer Mary Quaney, declined to comment, and Mr Kinsella did not respond to a request seeking comment.

Peak demand

Mainstream currently has about 1,900 megawatts (MW) of projects in construction or on the cusp of being built across Chile, Egypt, Senegal and South Africa – the equivalent of about a quarter of peak demand for electricity in the Irish market.

It has an additional development pipeline of almost 10,000MW of projects at various stages in countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia and Colombia.

Mr O’Connor owns 55 per cent of the business and is its chairman. Management and a group of high net worth individuals, most of whom first invested in 2008, hold the remainder.

Mr Kinsella, who was the company’s first employee when it was set up in 2008, owned the equivalent of 0.6 per cent of the company at the end of 2019, but also held stock options equating to about 1 per cent of its total outstanding shares as of that date, according to the latest set of accounts.