Irish Infrastructure Fund to acquire majority stake in enet

Press release
23rd Sep 2005

The Irish Infrastructure Fund (IIF), managed by Irish Life Investment Managers and AMP Capital, has entered into an agreement to acquire a 78 per cent stake in Ireland’s largest wholesale-only carrier, enet. IIF will form a partnership with existing shareholder Granahan McCourt Capital, a worldwide investor in telecoms and media infrastructure.

Granahan McCourt Capital’s founder, David C. McCourt, will continue to serve as Chairman and Granahan McCourt Capital will retain its shareholding in the business. The partnership boosts enet’s plans to continue expanding its network and services at home in Ireland, whilst also paving the way to further grow the company’s pan-European telecoms infrastructure investment strategy.

David McCourt, founder of Granahan McCourt Capital and Chairman of enet said: “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. 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.”

AMP Capital’s Philip Doyle, Principal of the Irish Infrastructure Fund, said: “The Irish Infrastructure Fund is excited to acquire a stake in enet and to partner with Granahan McCourt Capital who have built a solid business which provides essential telecommunications infrastructure necessary for the continued growth of the Irish economy. “Demand for enet’s connectivity services are growing by close to 10 per cent 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.”

Patrick Burke, Managing Director, Irish Life Investment Managers, said: “We are delighted to have secured enet as a further asset for the Irish Infrastructure Fund. The core characteristics of infrastructure such as its inherent long life, strong intrinsic value and income distribution means it is one of the fastest growing asset classes in the Irish market. Infrastructure is an excellent match for the long-term liabilities of certain investors, such as DB pension funds and for clients seeing income such as charities and corporates. Irish Life is delighted to be in the unique position of being able to provide our clients with access to a diversified infrastructure investment that is investing in core Irish assets.”

Based in Limerick, enet has a strong reputation in telecoms infrastructure, operating Ireland’s Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) on behalf of the Irish State and has become a key player in the provision of digital infrastructure services across the country.

The MANs will remain in State ownership post acquisition. enet’s success with the open-access model means it already serves more than one million end-users, with its infrastructure supporting 70 different retail service providers and customers will continue to enjoy the same level of service after the acquisition. enet’s experience in telecoms infrastructure, access to substantial investment and track record of policy-delivery equip it to powerfully fulfil Europe’s connectivity targets for 2025, for which €500 billion has been pledged. IIF will acquire its stake from Oak Hill Advisors and other minority investors. The transaction is expected to reach financial close after confirmation of regulatory approvals.