The contract for the national broadband plan State-led intervention, which was signed with National Broadband Ireland in November 2019, is a comprehensive and detailed document. To protect the State investment and ensure that the national broadband plan milestones and deliverables are met, the contract has been designed to include extensive protections, quality checks, reporting and monitoring obligations.
I am aware of recent commentary in relation to the national broadband plan contract, in particular with regard to the ownership of National Broadband Ireland and the investment of shareholders' funds.
On the matter of ownership, Metallah Limited is the 100% owner of the shares in the capital of National Broadband Ireland, save for the special share of the Minister, which does not provide ownership rights. Granahan McCourt Dublin Limited is the 100% owner of the shares in the capital of Metallah Limited and is owned 50.9% by Granahan McCourt Fund Limited, a David McCourt controlled company, and 49.1% by Tel-IE Broadband Sari, an entity managed and controlled by Oak Hill Advisors. The ownership structure remains as it was at the signing of the contract.
The investors are providing funding through the purchase of shares in National Broadband Ireland and the provision of shareholder loans. I am advised that utilising both instruments is a standard form of investment in infrastructure companies and that the reference to both as "equity investments" is common practice.
The initial drawdown of committed shareholder funds by National Broadband Ireland was €100 million in January 2020. This was drawn down before the release of any subsidy by the State. I am advised that no shareholder distributions have been made to date. I am also advised that a further drawdown of investor funds of €20 million will be made in the coming weeks and that the full amount of committed equity, €175 million, is covered by guarantees.