Three fresh bids for Bord Gais Energy

Viridian, Blackstone and Centrica understood to be among bidders

Tue, Nov 26, 2013, 09:03

Three bids, each in the region of €1 billion, were submitted yesterday for Bord Gáis Energy, it is understood. The deadline for fresh bids in the reopened process to sell the State energy company’s retail arm passed at 9am yesterday.

It is understood the bids were from Blackstone, the private equity giant; Viridian, the Northern Ireland energy firm that owns Energia; and the UK utility Centrica, which bid in partnership with the Canadian renewable energy investor Brookfield Asset Management.

The three companies all declined to comment last night. New Era, the state agency that is advising the Government on the process, and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources also declined to comment.

Bord Gáis group, which is being advised on the sale by the investment bank RBC, said: “The sale process for Bord Gáis Energy is ongoing and, as this is a confidential process, we cannot comment further at this time.”

The State is selling the retail arm of Bord Gáis along with a suite of renewable energy assets and the Whitegate power station in Cork.

The process was reopened earlier this month after the original bidding last month got bogged down following wrangling over a €1 billion reserve price put on the assets.

It has been widely reported that Viridian put in the highest bid first time round.Brookfield is interested in acquiring BGE’s wind energy assets, including wind farms bought by the State energy company from SWS in 2009 for €500 million.

The energy regulator previously indicated a preference for the buyer to be a new entrant to the State’s energy market.