NTR And NY Giant In Investment Venture
The Irish Examiner : March 01 2011
By Geoff Percival
Renewable energy company NTR is to form a new investment vehicle with New York-based giant, BlackRock.
The new business, which will utilise both companies’ names, will be headquartered in Dublin (with additional offices planned for London and New York) and will target investment opportunities in the renewable energy sector; an area largely untouched by BlackRock.
While NTR — which yesterday also reported a €50 million rise in first-half revenues to €168m — didn’t divulge monetary details about the new venture, which requires formal regulatory approval, it said it would benefit from the Irish group’s international expertise in the energy sector and BlackRock’s global fund management and distribution capabilities.
NTR is looking to invest more in renewable energy, as it decreases its investment in the solar energy sector.
The move will also considerably alter NTR’s senior management line-up. Chief executive Jim Barry will take over as chief investment officer of the new entity with Michael McNicholas (currently NTR’s chief operating officer) replacing him in the lead role at NTR. Meanwhile, the group’s current finance director, Michael Walsh has been appointed chief executive of Woodford Capital — the investment vehicle of the Roche family, which owns nearly 40% of NTR — being replaced in his current role by Greenstar Ireland head, Neil Parkinson.
NTR said its partnership with BlackRock will help it on its path towards "recapturing growth"; a wide-reaching plan that also includes the disposal of non-core assets, "at the appropriate opportunity" and the "significant liquidity event for shareholders" over the coming two to three years, first announced in December.
Meanwhile, the group’s half-year results — covering the six months to the end of September — also showed revenues of €168m, an EBITDA loss of €54.3m (which included €73.8m of costs relating to its solar division, where costs have since been curtailed significantly) and total assets of €1.26bn.
Mr Barry said that NTR’s share price — which trades on the grey market and stood at 80c, yesterday — doesn’t currently reflect the underlying value of assets.