Infrastructure investors buy Ireland’s Enet open-access company

Infrastructure investors buy Ireland’s Enet open-access company

The owner of Irish wholesale carrier Enet is selling control to two investment managers that say they will look to expand the business across Europe.

Under the deal, the Irish Infrastructure Fund (IIF), which is managed by Irish Life Investment Managers and Australian investor AMP Capital, will buy 78% of Enet for a sum believed to be around €150 million.

Granahan McCourt Capital, which led a consortium that bought control of Enet four years ago for a reported €43 million, will retain its shareholding and US investor David McCourt will continue to be chairman. IIF will acquire its stake from Oakhill Advisors, which had 47%, and other minority investors.

McCourt said: “Enet and the Irish Infrastructure Fund are committed to making long-term investment in Ireland’s future and to gearing its economy for growth – employing our expertise and resources to bring reliable, future-proofed connectivity infrastructure to poorly-served regions.”

He added: “The provision of world-class connectivity infrastructure needs to be viewed as a vital utility, yet many residents and businesses across Europe remain left behind.”

Enet is one of the groups looking for a share in Ireland’s National Broadband Plan. It operates the Irish government’s metropolitan area networks, which will remain in state ownership, and provides open-access wholesale services that reach one million end users, via 70 retail service providers.

In a statement, the new investors said: “ The partnership boosts Enet’s plans to continue expanding its network and services at home in Ireland, whilst also paving the way to further grow the company’s pan-European telecoms infrastructure investment strategy.” Enet provided no details of its strategy outside Ireland; however, earlier this year the company agreed a partnership deal with the UK's SSE Enterprise Telecoms.  

AMP Capital’s Philip Doyle, principal of the IIF, said the fund was “excited to acquire a stake in Enet and to partner with Granahan McCourt Capital who have built a solid business which provides essential telecommunications infrastructure necessary for the continued growth of the Irish economy.”

The IIF was set up five years ago with the aim of raising €1 billion in funds to invest in Irish infrastructure.

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