NTR plans major Irish wind energy investment after returning to profit

July 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

NTR is lining up a €400m investment in wind energy

NTR is lining up a €400m investment in wind energy on the island of Ireland as it seeks to diversify its US-focused power business.

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The company has just announced its first annual profit since the financial crash in 2008.

The former National Toll Roads group recorded profits of €31.4m for the 2014 financial year, compared to last year’s €16.2m loss. 

“The profit from recurring revenue was €7.9m and we believe that single-digit million profit per year is sustainable from the current mix of assets,” NTR chief executive Rosheen McGuckian told the Irish Independent. 

Earnings were boosted by €30m of “non-recurring” items including the completion of asset sales and resolution of a legal action, and an uplift in asset valuations.

Revenues grew to €45.6m in the same period, an increase of 29pc.

NTR’s main income-generating asset is Wind Capital Group, a business with 350KW of wind energy production assets in the US.

“We are a wind business today,” Ms McGuckian said.

In addition to the US assets the company now plans to invest in new assets in northern Europe, especially in the UK and Ireland.

That will begin within months with a new €400m investment in a project to build a 150 KW generating wind farm in Ireland, she said.

The project will be funded with a mix of project finance and around €150m of equity, of which one third will come from NTR, she added yesterday.

Investor

A policy of de-risking the business following a three-year operational restructuring means NTR will be a later stage investor in new projects, coming in at the preconstruction, financing or even operating stage, Ms McGuckian said. 

NTR has around 2,000 shareholders, mainly in Ireland, with the stock trading on a so-called grey or off-exchange market.  Around  80pc of the company is held by major backers including the founding Roche family, investment firm One 51 and Nick Furlong’s  Pageant Holdings.

Despite the focus on wind energy NTR has no plan to dispose of non-core water and road assets, Rosheen McGuckian said. 

NTR also has a 50pc stake in Celtic Anglian Water (CAW), which operates the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant for Dublin City Council, as well as other water infrastructure assets here in Ireland.

The water business is dividend generative, the company said.

NTR is still best know for its historic toll roads business. It retains interest in two tolled roads here including the East Link bridge which joins Ringsend in Dublin 4 with Dublin’s port area, but that unit remains “challenged” by low but recovering traffic volumes and low inflation, Ms McGuckian said.  Despite the return to profit there is no immediate plan to resume paying a dividend.

Irish Independent

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