State-backed IIF to acquire 78pc of Irish broadband firm Enet

27 Jul 201726 Shares

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US infrastructure tycoon David C McCourt. Image: Enet

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The IIF acquires Enet to bring future-proofed connectivity services to Ireland.

The Irish Infrastructure Fund (IFF) has acquired 78pc of broadband firm Enet in a move that values the company at up to €200m.

Enet manages Ireland’s nationwide patchwork of 94 metropolitan area networks (MANs) around key cities and towns.

‘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’
– DAVID C MCCOURT

The company is shortlisted for the National Broadband Plan and is competing against Eir and Siro (the Vodafone and ESB joint venture) for a share of the 25-year project.

The IIF was set up by Irish Life in 2012. It is backed by the Irish Government’s Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and is managed by Australian investment firm AMP Capital.

Connectivity is key to the future of Irish economy

The move was prompted by the decision of US investment firm Oak Hill to sell its 47pc stake in Enet.

The IIF will form a partnership with existing shareholder Granahan McCourt Capital, a worldwide investor in telecoms and media infrastructure. The latter’s founder, David C McCourt, will continue to serve as chair, and Granahan McCourt Capital will retain its shareholding in the business.

“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,” McCourt said.

“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.”

The MANs operated by Enet will remain in State ownership post-acquisition.

AMP Capital’s Philip Doyle, principal at the IIF, said that connectivity is key to the continued growth of the Irish economy.

“Demand for Enet’s connectivity services are growing by close to 10pc every year and this acquisition is an attractive opportunity for the IIF to invest in a business that is clearly aligned to the fund’s investment strategy, where we see good potential for growth and where the IIF and Granahan McCourt Capital can bring our extensive experience in actively managing and growing telecom businesses.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com