Renewable energy portfolio generates multi-million euro windfall for Cork businessman – The Irish Times

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Cork renewables entrepreneur Michael Murnane shared a €14.5m dividend last year from a company associated with his Invis Energy portfolio of 10 wind farms in the west and south of the state.

Businessman Macroom also withdrew €1.5m in management fees from the wind farms, while a separate company in which he has a 50% stake also received €1.5m of charges.

Mr Murnane, who with his partners sold a majority stake in the wind farms five years ago for 300 million euros, now owns around 11% of the portfolio, which entitles him to around 1.6 million dividend distribution euros. With his share of management fees, the wind farms could have generated almost €4m in revenue last year for Mr Murnane and the family business, Fixarra.

The portfolio of assets which have been developed by Mr Murnane, and in which he remains a minority investor, operate around 11% of Ireland’s total wind power capacity, according to the Invis website. These include the large-scale Knockduff wind facility in Cork and the Knocknagoum facility in Kerry, which has 42 wind turbines. Together with other wind farms on the west coast in Clare, Galway and Mayo, the portfolio’s total power generation capacity is approximately 223 megawatts.

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The dividend payment is disclosed in the consolidated accounts of Evalair, the entity that owns the assets. It generated 50 million euros in electricity sales during the year to the end of last September, while it had an operating profit of more than 14 million euros and a net loss of 3, 3 million euros.

Despite this, it paid its shareholders a dividend of 14.5 million euros, leaving it with a deficit of 35 million euros on the consolidated balance sheet. Company executives, including Mr Murnane, highlighted the shortfall in a note to the accounts but confirmed “there is certainty around the continuation of business” of the company and that it has adequate resources .

Following the €300 million takeover in 2017, around 60% of the portfolio is held by a Japanese consortium, Shamrock Wind, which includes Mirai Power, Kansai Electric and a company linked to Mitsubishi. The rest is owned by Mr Murnane’s Fixarra and a Luxembourg entity linked to UK private equity firm, HG Capital.

Mr Murnane’s interests in the business are ultimately controlled from the Isle of Man through a Manx entity, Freetal, whose directors include the Cork businessman and members of his family.

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