Financial advisers for Bord Gáis sale sought

Sat, Jul 7, 2012, 01:00

NEW ERA is seeking financial advisers to act on the sale of Bord Gáis Energy, indicating it is likely to be one of the first of a number of State assets to go on the market.

In February, the Government announced it intended to sell Bord Gáis Energy, one of the main divisions of the State-owned Bord Gáis group, and a number of other assets, including ESB power plants, Coillte’s forests, and its stake in Aer Lingus.

Yesterday, New Era, the agency charged with overseeing the process, advertised for financial advisers to work on the sale of Bord Gáis Energy.

The advertisement, which appeared on the Government’s e-tenders website, is the first relating to any of the State assets that were earmarked for sale last February.

Bord Gáis itself said last month it intended appointing its own advisers.

It is understood the group will publish its own tender shortly.

The organisation appointed by the company will be the lead adviser on the sale of the energy business.

Merchant or investment banks or stockbrokers normally act as advisers in corporate sales.

Both New Era and Bord Gáis will take three to four months to complete the tendering process and hire their advisers. The sale could take a further year, so a deal is unlikely before late 2013.

Bord Gáis Energy supplies electricity and natural gas to consumers and businesses. It owns a number of power plants and a natural gas trading operation.

The group’s networks division, which runs the country’s natural gas pipelines and its interconnectors with Britain, will remain in State hands as it is considered to be of strategic importance.

The Government was required to show it is making progress on the sale of State assets to representatives of the EU/IMF troika, who are currently in Dublin.

The terms of the Republic’s 2010 bailout deal, which the troika is overseeing, require the State to sell some assets and companies.

At the same time, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, whose department is responsible for Bord Gáis and the ESB, has repeatedly stressed the Government will not be rushed into any fire sales.