Aqua Comms wins $25m investment from Irish government
13 October 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
The Irish government’s sovereign development fund is investing €22m ($25m) in Aqua Comms, which runs subsea cables between New York, Dublin and London.
According to Aqua Comms, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) is prepared to invest a further $25 million of equity capital alongside a similar amount from private equity investor Cartesian.
The deal follows an announcement in May 2016 that Cartesian was putting an initial $25 million into Aqua Comms, to be followed by a further $50 million – taking the total of new investment into the subsea cable company in the past five months to $125 million.
Donal Murphy, head of infrastructure and credit investments at ISIF, said: “Aqua Comms’ subsea fibre-optic network is a critical piece of enabling infrastructure that will enhance Ireland’s ability to capitalise on its position as a data centre and connectivity hub and will benefit both multinational and indigenous companies. This is the ISIF’s first investment in a sector that we have identified as being entirely consistent with the connectivity strand of our investment strategy.”
The money comes from ISIF’s connectivity fund, formed to spend the €335 million Ireland raised when it sold its stake in the Aer Lingus airline to the International Airline Group.
Aqua Comms operates the recently completed America-Europe Connect subsea cable system, as well as CeltixConnect, which connects Britain and Ireland across the Irish Sea.
Thor Johnsen, a board member of Aqua Ventures, said: “With ISIF supporting Aqua Comms’ vision, Ireland will remain a critical data hub in an ever more connected world.”
ISIF director Eugene O’Callaghan suggested that other investments will follow. “We are looking forward to seeing connectivity investments being completed by ISIF, over time, in a range of commercially viable projects with economic impact and competitiveness benefits for Ireland.”