Denis O’Brien associate appointed new head of broadband bidder Enet

Peter McCarthy to replace Bartley McElroy as head of Limerick-based telecoms group

Enet was left in pole position to win the Government’s NBP contract, said to be worth over €500 million, following the surprise exits of Eir and ESB-Vodafone joint venture Siro. Photograph: Michael Smith/Getty Images

Enet was left in pole position to win the Government’s NBP contract, said to be worth over €500 million, following the surprise exits of Eir and ESB-Vodafone joint venture Siro. Photograph: Michael Smith/Getty Images

 

A long-time associate of businessman Denis O’Brien has been appointed as the new chief executive of Enet, the Limerick-based telecoms group which is part of the consortium bidding for the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP).

Peter McCarthy, a former senior executive at Mr O’Brien’s engineering services group Actavo, replaces Enet’s Bartley McElroy, who has only been in the top job for several months.

Mr McCarthy’s association with Mr O’Brien stretches back to 1997 when he worked as the head of procurement for Esat, the telecoms firm that Mr O’Brien set up in the early 1990s, which went on to secure the State’s second mobile phone licence.

Consultant

Mr McCarthy also worked for a time as a commercial director for Mr O’Brien’s telecoms group Digicel. Recently he has worked as a consultant, with clients including Digicel.

An Enet spokesman confirmed Mr McCarthy’s appointment. The company, which operates the State’s Metropolitan Area Networks and several smaller broadband networks, is expected to make a formal announcement in the coming days.

Enet is now fully owned by the State-backed Irish Infrastructure Fund (IIF), which announced this week that it had acquired the remaining 22 per cent stake in the company from US investment fund Granahan McCourt.

The IIF had acquired 78 per cent of Enet in August 2017 in a deal that valued the company at up to €200 million.

Ongoing

Earlier this year Enet was left in pole position to win the Government’s NBP contract, said to be worth over €500 million, following the surprise exits of Eir and ESB-Vodafone joint venture Siro. The procurement process is ongoing.

The company’s bid for the State-subsidised scheme has subsequently been taken over by its former backer Granahan McCourt.

However, Enet and Mr O’Brien’s Actavo are still listed as “key partners” to the bid.

The changing composition of the lead NBP consortium had added further complexity to the Government’s already-strained broadband process. UK heavyweights SSE and John Laing have recently exited the consortium despite being brought in by Enet last year to shore up its bid.