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wind farms

Forestry group Coillte is looking to sell a chunk of its wind energy business

The semi-state previously announced plans to boost its renewable energy projects.

STATE-OWNED FORESTRY GROUP Coillte is looking for investors to buy up a chunk of its wind energy business.

The company has issued a tender seeking expressions of interest from investors to snap up shares in four recently commissioned operating wind farms and two more projects currently in the planning system.

Coillte – which owns and manages 7% of all of Ireland’s land – announced in its most recent annual results that it planned to rejig its business model so it didn’t have to depend as much on one-off land sales to generate cash.

One of the “development opportunities” identified by the semi-state at the time was wind energy.

In October of last year, Coillte announced plans to explore partnerships and joint ventures to “realise its renewable energy ambitions and strategy”, according to the tender document.

It has since decided to sell its share of four operating wind farms – capable of delivering 240 MW of energy – with the potential future acquisition of two more projects that are in the final stages of planning.

FORESTRY LAUNCH 758A9682_90501803 Coillte CEO Fergal Leamy (right) Eamonn Farrell / Eamonn Farrell / /

‘Unique’ position

Coillte manages assets valued at €1.5 billion across three divisions. The company’s so-called ’land solutions’ unit is involved in identifying commercial opportunities like renewable energy, telecommunications, housing and tourism.

In the tender document, it said it has a “significant land bank” and is “uniquely positioned to support Ireland’s achievement of EU and national energy and climate change policy objectives in the near- to medium-term”.

With that in mind, it’s eager to squeeze as much out of its land as possible to deliver renewable energy projects between now until 2030.

Headquartered in County Wicklow, Coillte has 440,000 hectares in its land portfolio.

It was involved in a number of high-profile land sales in recent years, such as a deal with UK-based holiday resort company Center Parcs for its €230 million project in County Longford.

It also completed a sale in 2016 to facilitate Apple’s data centre in Galway, which was bogged down in the planning process for three years and has since been put on the back-burner by the US tech company.

According to Coillte’s most recent annual accounts, it reported an operating profit of just over €64 million in 2016. It generated sales of more than €287 million during the year, up from €282 million in 2015.

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Written by Conor McMahon and posted on

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