By Pádraig Hoare
Private investment fund Granahan McCourt, which is leading the sole consortium bidding for the National Broadband Plan, has sold its stake in telecoms firm Enet to the State-backed Irish Infrastructure Fund.
The fund, managed by AMP Capital and Irish Life Investment Managers, said that it had agreed to buy the remaining 22% of Enet from Granahan McCourt Capital, bringing its stake to 100%.
Limerick-based Enet operates Ireland’s metropolitan area networks on behalf of the Irish state, as well as a variety of other wholesale telecommunications infrastructure.
The fund bought 78% of Enet in August last year for around €200m.
The latest move signals the complicated nature of the tender for the National Broadband Plan, which aims to bring high-speed broadband to more than 500,000 houses and businesses in the Republic.
Enet was until last month the lead in the consortium bidding for the National Broadband Plan.
Granahan McCourt then announced it would instead lead the bid, with Enet’s role reduced to that of partner supplier.
The new bidding entity led by Granahan McCourt is now called National Broadband Ireland, and promises to deliver “world-class gigabit (1,000Mbps) broadband to every home, farm and business” in the National Broadband Plan’s reach.
According to National Broadband Ireland, the consortium is being now led by Granahan McCourt, partnered by Enet, Nokia, Actavo, The Kelly Group, and KN Group.
Engineering firm Actavo is owned by Denis O’Brien and was formerly known as Siteserv.
The process has been dogged by controversy in recent days, with Communications Minister Denis Naughten being asked to clarify the conversation he had with Granahan McCourt chairman and founder, Irish-American businessman David McCourt, in New York in July.
The National Broadband Plan has been beset by problems since it was first mooted in 2012.
Eir followed Siro, a joint venture between Vodafone and the ESB, in dropping out.