Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Things are looking up as Mayo benefits from sale of State's stake in Aer Lingus

MAYO is set to benefit from the proceeds from the sale of the State's stake in Aer Lingus.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has confirmed to Deputy Joan Burton that the Connectivity Fund was established as a sub-fund of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to invest the €335 million proceeds from the sale of the State's shareholding in Aer Lingus with the aim of enabling and enhancing Ireland's physical, virtual and energy connectivity.

The minister elaborated: “The ISIF has completed the first two investments from this fund with a combined value of €57 million

“ISIF announced a $25 million (c. €22 million) equity investment in Aqua Comms DAC, the operator of Ireland's first dedicated subsea fibre-optic network. The cable lands in Killala and interconnects New York, Dublin and London.

“Aqua Comms is a provider of data connectivity and bandwidth infrastructure services for content providers, cloud-based networks, data centres, IT companies and the global media.

'Its network will be used by major multinational technology and telecoms companies to provide fast, secure data connections between Ireland, the US and UK and will enable the continued growth of the Irish digital economy.

“SIF also rolled an existing (National Pensions Reserve Fund) commitment in daa plc's public bond, which was issued in 2008 (repayable in 2018), into a €35 million commitment in a new 2028 public bond issuance by daa, the operator of Dublin and Cork Airports.

“This continues ISIF's role as a long-term, strategic, domestic investor in daa. Given the nature of the underlying business of daa, and the fact that the new bond issuance provides the underpinning long-term financing for the company, the ISIF commitment to the 2028 bond is considered suited to inclusion under the Connectivity Fund.

“Several other Connectivity Fund investment opportunities are currently being assessed under the ISIF's 'double bottom line' mandate, which is to seek both commercial return and economic impact.

'These connectivity opportunities include potential investments in energy, air, sea and further data connectivity projects and businesses seeking to expand and enhance Ireland's international links.”