Mainstream’s Chief Financial Officer, Paul Corrigan, provided a personal insight into the company’s remarkable growth story when he featured as a profile guest on the EY CFO Outlook podcast.
In this 40 minute conversation with host and business journalist Vincent Wall, he discusses his own role in the successful raising of project capital totalling more than US$3 billion over the past 14 years.
And he describes how Mainstream’s long-term play of targeting emerging markets – once a turn-off for risk-adverse investors – is now bearing fruit in a geopolitical world focused on Net Zero goals and energy security.
Summarising the journey from start-up to an Irish multinational that’s now firmly on track to becoming a renewable energy major, Paul said: “That international focus has been with us from Day One.
“The bets we placed and the flags we placed in the ground in 2008, 2009… actually we’re seeing the results of those today – that’s the position in South Africa, that’s the position in Chile – it has always been that global outlook.
“Even the name Mainstream. Back then, renewable energy was viewed as an alternative asset class, and the idea was that it would become a mainstream asset class, and that very much has happened.”
The Leadership team member and father-of-two also tells of the learning curve as a newly appointed CFO in making the game-changing deals that have put Mainstream in control of its own destiny.
In the excerpt above, he sets out what long-term strategic investors Aker Horizons and the Japanese trading house Mitsui have brought to the table in terms of added “clout”.
And Paul continues: “It gives us huge stability and the clarity and vision for the future. One of changes we have made – I mentioned about the developing and selling of assets – is the transition to retaining those assets for a period, where you create portfolios and try and drive and maximise as much value as you can.”
While Mitsui’s 27.5 percent ownership interest has valued Mainstream at around EUR €2.1 billion, it was explained that the new access to capital has reduced the imperative to IPO.
“Aker and Mitsui are long-term shareholders; they’re not looking to IPO for liquidity to sell-down, it’s looking to IPO for further capital, and it’s our job as the management team to create these opportunities,” Paul says. “It would be a good problem to have if the business needs more money to maintain the growth that we have created.
“The Mitsui investment has given us an awful lot of that up-front capital, we don’t need to raise capital today and we don’t expect to do it anytime soon. So it gives us the ability to take time to properly mature the business a little bit further and to de-risk it.”
Listen to the full podcast, in which Paul also reveals his heroes and what his best words of CFO advice would be, using the player at the top of this page. The episode is hosted with the kind permission of EY. Find more from the CFO Outlook series here.
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