ESB to shed stake in plants abroad
State energy group the ESB will divest its 50 per cent stake in two international power stations to fulfil a Government order to dispose of non-strategic assets.
Last October, the Government called on the energy provider to dispose of €400 million in non-strategic generating assets by 2014. The funds raised are to be paid to the exchequer as a “special dividend”.
Yesterday the ESB said it would sell its 50 per cent stake in both the UK-based Marchwood Power and Spanish power station Bizkaia Energia.
In a statement, the energy provider said both power stations “have been good investments for ESB”.
A spokeswoman for the ESB declined to comment on how much the sale of its stake in the stations might generate, but it is understood that Marchwood Power has a value of about €500 million, while Bizkaia Energia cost €690 million to develop.
The ESB jointly owns – with Scottish Southern Energy (SSE) – Marchwood Power, a 840MW power station in Marchwood, near Southampton. It was constructed in 2007 and started commercial operations in late 2009. In 2011 the station paid a dividend of €7.4 million to the ESB, down from €17.6 million in 2010.
Bizkaia Energia, jointly owned with Osaka Gas of Japan, runs a 755MW power station in Amorebieta, near Bilbao in the Basque Region of northern Spain. The plant was the first internationally owned Independent Power Producer in Spain, and has been in commercial operation since 2005.
The station paid the ESB a dividend of €7.4 million in 2011.
At the time of investing in Bizkaia Energia in 2003, then ESB chief executive Pádraig McManus said the international business was “core”.