According to reports in The Sunday Times newspaper, members of the Murtagh family have a difference of opinion when it comes to investing in Ireland’s telecoms market. Eugene Murtagh has reportedly bought into alternative operator Perlico, in a move which pits him directly against his younger brother Brendan, the largest shareholder in rival telco Smart Telecom. Eugene Murtagh invested EUR500,000 (USD660,000) in Perlico in the operator’s recent EUR30 million fundraising exercise, which valued the firm at EUR55 million. Other Perlico backers include Conor Roche, son of NTR chairman Tom Roche, packaging tycoon Michael Smurfit, and a group of affiliated investors who provided EUR10 million in equity. They join the operator’s existing shareholders Ged Pierse of construction group Pierse Construction, entrepreneur Dr Jim Mountjoy and David Martin.
By the end of 2006 Perlico had increased its fixed line and broadband subscriber base to 75,000 users, up from 10,000 at the start of the year, and reported having captured more than 10,000 customers from its rival in ‘recent months’. Perlico plans to use its new funds to improve its broadband offering, with services such as internet television (IPTV) and video-on-demand (VOD).