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
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