Businessman Noel Meaney, who has built up a pan-European data centre and networking business valued at an estimated €350m from the embers of 2001’s telecoms downturn, is planning a dual-listing for his Singapore-listed company with the London Stock Exchange being the likely target.
Former CA and Metromedia boss Meaney established Global Voice in Dublin in early 2002 with the acquisition of Metromedia’s 60,000 sq ft data centre in west Dublin and citywide fibre network. Global Voice listed on the Singapore stock exchange in October 2004 through a reverse takeover of Horizon Education & Technologies.
Meaney has gone on to build up a pan-European fibre optic network, euNetworks, which includes Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, and focuses heavily on financial centres like London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
According to figures reported in August last year, Global Voice amassed revenues of €10.4m for the first half of 2007, resulting in profits of €1.4m.
The Singapore Stock Exchange-listed company which Meaney and business partner Chris Nightingale started after leading a management buyout of data centre firm Metromedia in 2002, attracted 34 new customers and 113 separate new lease agreements in the six months.
A second division called Premier Data Centres (PDC) received a €12m investment earlier last year when Keppel Telecommunications and Transport, which is part-owned by the Singapore Government, took a 50pc stake.
PDC’s former Metromedia data centre in Dublin has an exclusive tenancy agreement with technology giant HP.
Meaney said Global Voice, which counts ABN Amro as a major investor, is considering expanding from a single to dual stock exchange listing and that London is the likely target.
“We went to Singapore because we couldn’t raise money in Europe at the time. We now have euNetworks operational and are looking at other subsidiaries and opportunities to expand,” Meaney said, adding that a capital expenditure of €30m is planned for the fibre carrier this year.
“We are about to relaunch PDC with a new brand and we are in the final stages of opening three new data centres in Europe – in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.”
He said major drivers for the euNetworks business include demands from financial markets like the Deutsche Borse and media firms like Endemol for strands of fibre for which euNetworks charges a fixed price. “We see services such as on-demand TV putting major stress on European networks in the years ahead.”
Another business interest of Meaney and Nightingale – a solar energy firm called Alternative Energy – was floated on the AIM market just before Christmas.
“There is a lot of opportunity around the utilisation of power. I know how much power we use as a data centre company and there will come a point in time when data centres will have to go green. The average data centre uses as much power as a small town. That’s why we’re interested in alternative energy opportunities,” Meaney said.
By John Kennedy