Infrastructure fund in renewable sector deal

The Irish Infrastructure Fund has completed its first investment in the renewable sector by acquiring majority interest in the portfolio of wind farms from Viridian Group for an undisclosed fee.

The fund was established in 2011 by Irish Life Investment Managers, with AMP Capital appointed as discretionary investment manager and the National Pensions Reserve Fund as a cornerstone investor.

The NPRF has already contributed €300m and the fund will seek up to €1bn from global and Irish institutional investors.

NPRF chairman Paul Carty said: “This is an important first investment by the IIF, establishing it as a major new investor in Irish infrastructure and bringing liquidity to the market. Transactions that enable vendors to recycle their capital into further investment, in this case in the renewable assets sector, are essential to the development of the infrastructure market in Ireland.”

The portfolio, previously wholly owned by the Viridian Group, consists of 104mw of capacity generated by 10 windfarms, eight of which are located in the Republic of Ireland. The fund will hold a stake of at least 75% across the portfolio of windfarms as a result of the transaction.

Viridian’s Energia business will retain the minority interest in the portfolio and will continue to manage and operate the wind farms.

AMP Capital head of infrastructure Boe Pahari said: “Ireland benefits from one of the most attractive wind resources in Europe, with exposure to the prevailing south-westerly winds of the Atlantic Ocean making it an exceptional location for wind energy generation.”

Energia renewables managing director Peter Baillie said: “This is a strong vote of confidence in Energia and in the Irish wind industry. We look forward to leveraging this investment through the continued growth and development of our significant portfolio of renewable assets across Ireland.”

AMP was advised in the acquisition by the Macquerie group.

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