Terra Firma sells Phoenix to Hastings
Private-equity firm run by Guy Hands had invested in Northern Ireland’s largest natural gas distribution and energy services company in 2005
Phoenix was established in 1996 to bring natural gas to Northern Ireland and has about 140,000 domestic and business customers . Last year it had a turnover of £118.1 million, down £42.3 million on the previous year
The buyout firm announced the sale in a statement today, without disclosing the price.
Hastings, founded in 1994 as one of Australia’s first infrastructure fund managers, agreed to pay about £700 million pounds ($1.06 billion) for Phoenix, a person familiar with the matter said yesterday.
Peter Dixon, group chief executive at Phoenix Energy Holdings said that over the past eight years, under the guidance of Terra Firma, the company had invested more than £100 million locally.
“The key ambition for Phoenix in the years ahead is to continue to grow significantly the distribution business, and attracting an investor such as Hastings into the local Northern Ireland economy will help us to meet this ambition,” he said.
“Hastings sees great opportunity for growth here in Northern Ireland and in particular was attracted by Phoenix’s ambitions to continue to increase gas availability in its existing licence area as well as to target opportunities for growth in areas that are new to Phoenix.”
Phoenix was established in 1996 to bring natural gas to Northern Ireland and has about 140,000 domestic and business customers and employs more than 3,000 people, according to the company’s website.
Phoenix is the trading name of the Kellen Group. Last year it had a turnover of £118.1 million, down £42.3 million on the previous year reflecting the sale of its supply business midway through the year.
On a like-for-like basis turnover increased in the continued business by £6 million from £39.9 million to £45.9 million. However, the continuing operations made a loss of £300,000.
Terra Firma invested in Northern Ireland’s largest natural gas distribution and energy services company in 2005, its website shows.