Sale of Bord Gáis energy company to be completed by the end of the year
Opposition opposes sell-off and warns Irish Water could be privatised by default
New legislation will allow the sale of Bord Gáis Éireann’s competitive energy business. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Privatisation of State assets moved a step closer with the introduction of legislation to allow the sale of Bord Gáis Éireann’s competitive energy business. Bord Gáis Energy has an estimated value of €1 billion to €1.5 billion.
The Gas Regulation Bill provides for retention in State ownership of the strategic gas networks while allowing for the sale of the energy company, which last year had a gross profit of €75 million.
Introducing the Gas Regulation Bill in the Dáil, Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte said the sale of the energy company was the result of an agreement in November 2010 between the then government and the bailout troika on the setting of “appropriate targets for the possible privatisation of State-owned assets”.
The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The Minister said a new subsidiary of Bord Gáis Éireann would be established to own and operate the gas network business. It would “ring-fence and protect the strategic gas network assets”.
Sinn Féin’s Michael Colreavy also opposed the Bill.