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Wavebob Shuts Down After Failing to Raise Funds, Find Partner

Wavebob Ltd., an Irish maker of marine energy technology, will be liquidated after failing to raise money and find a strategic partner to fund its continued development.

Wavebob found it impossible to find an investor or a strategic partner in the past two years, Padraig Berry, chairman of the Maynooth-based company, said today by phone. Most recently it expected to receive a grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland that was ultimately declined, he said. The company had been seeking to raise 10 million euros ($13 million) by the end of March.

“Some of the big players in ocean energy are in fact withdrawing from the sector entirely,” Berry said. “Finding a strategic partner and a long-term investor has been impossible and we were almost there a couple of times but they haven’t materialized.”

Abengoa SA, which Wavebob was already working with on a project, was a potential strategic investor, he said. “They took us almost to the altar and then withdrew.”

The intellectual property of the wave-energy machine will be sold and Eugene McLoughlin and Associates will likely be appointed as the liquidators, said the chairman. Wavebob’s founder was the largest shareholder, owning 40 percent of the company. The company had 12 employees.

Wavebob owns a stake alongside Vattenfall AB and Irish utility Bord Gais Eireann in Tonn Energy Ltd., a venture set up to develop and install Wavebob’s technology across Ireland. Tonn Energy will likely cease to operate, Berry said.

“We need to take stock now that Wavebob is no longer available as a partner, considering they are a shareholder in the company,” Harvey Appelbe, ocean energy program manager at Tonn, said by e-mail. “We cannot make any decisions until we clear up that situation,” he said. “I would expect to have a clearer picture in the summer months.”

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