Naughton backs Airtricity

Published on Sunday 19 August, 2007. By John Reynolds

BILLIONAIRE Dr Martin Naughton, founder of Glen Dimplex has emerged as a backer of global wind energy giant, Airtricity.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent recently, the owner of the €2bn Dundalk-based heater manufacturer revealed he had a stake in the €1.25bn wind power firm. “I have personally invested a lot in wind farms and I’m a big supporter of Airtricity,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Airtricity confirmed Dr Naughton was a shareholder, but declined to reveal the size of his stake in the company.

NTR owns 51 per cent, while British investment and advisory firm Ecofin has a stake of at least 16 per cent. The remaining 33 per cent is owned by employees and outside investors.

Dr Naughton is a key backer of Ireland’s booming wind energy business. Earlier this month it was revealed he has invested in Oriel Windfarm, a fledgling green energy company that intends to snap at Airtricity’s heels in Ireland.

Oriel plans to build a €600m wind farm off the coast of Naughton’s native County Louth. The firm’s managing director, Brian Britton, is a former deputy chief executive of Goodman International, which is owned by beef baron Larry Goodman.

Oriel’s 330 megawatt wind farm will consist of 55 turbines — enough to power about 250,000 homes — making it the biggest of its kind in the country. Plans reveal the Louth wind farm will be built in five phases, each consisting of 11 turbines. It will supply power to the national grid in 2011 and construction is expected to start in 2009

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