Welink adds 80 jobs amid talks for €2bn so­lar plants in EU

Ir­ish re­new­ables firm aims to team up more Al­lianz unit, writes John Reynolds

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

WELINK Group is un­der­stood to be in talks with a num­ber of prospec­tive part­ners about de­vel­op­ing up to 2.5 gi­gawatts of so­lar power in­stal­la­tions in Italy, Spain and Por­tu­gal val­ued at be­tween €2bn and €2.5bn, as it plans to cre­ate up to 80 jobs.

Last month the re­new­able en­ergy and off-site man­u­fac­tured home de­vel­oper sold a 46MW so­lar plant in Por­tu­gal to Al­lianz Cap­i­tal Part­ners (ACP), part of the Mu­nich-based Al­lianz in­sur­ance group.

Dublin-head­quar­tered Welink — headed by exDCC ex­ec­u­tive Barry O’neill — aims to strengthen its col­lab­o­ra­tion with ACP, it is un­der­stood.

Dubliner O’neill said his firm will be hir­ing up to 80 peo­ple over the next two years for its en­ergy and homes di­vi­sions, work­ing across de­sign, fi­nance, le­gal, pro­cure­ment and en­gi­neer­ing func­tions. Be­tween 20 and 40 of the new re­cruits are ex­pected to be based in Dublin.

“We have 440MW of so­lar power un­der con­tract at the mo­ment. In ad­di­tion, we are at var­i­ous stages of con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions on deals in ex­cess of 1.2GW, and are in pre­lim­i­nary talks about a fur­ther 700MW of so­lar pho­to­voltaic projects.

“Most of th­ese projects have been iden­ti­fied in Spain, Por­tu­gal and Italy, but we also have an am­bi­tion to look at other EU mar­kets — France, Nether­lands, UK — as well as be­yond Eu­rope in the Mid­dle East and North Africa and Latin Amer­i­can re­gions.” Typ­i­cal val­u­a­tions of so­lar projects range from be­tween €0.8m to €0.9m per MW, de­pend­ing on lo­ca­tion and so­lar yield. The struc­ture of the projects, which will be backed by long term power pur­chase agree­ments to sell the power pro­duced, mean that in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors such as Al­lianz are keen to in­vest in them. “Deal­ing with a firm such as Al­lianz in the cap­i­tal arena also re­in­forces our am­bi­tion,” said O’neill.

Welink has a decade-long record of work­ing with China Tri­umph In­ter­na­tional En­gi­neer­ing Co Lim­ited to de­liver the so­lar projects. The Chi­nese firm is the in­ter­na­tional en­gi­neer­ing, pro­cure­ment and con­tract­ing divi­sion of state-owned China Na­tional Build­ing Ma­te­ri­als (CNBM), a For­tune 500 com­pany, with as­sets in ex­cess of $100bn.

The Ir­ish busi­ness has now strength­ened its homes team, com­bin­ing se­nior ex­ec­u­tives with ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in house­build­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, con­struc­tion and land de­vel­op­ment. It has de­vel­oped a range of mar­ket-spe­cific, af­ford­able homes that are de­signed for off-site man­u­fac­ture.

EX-DCC ex­ec­u­tive Barry O’neill heads Welink

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