Bord Gáis Energy and Airtricity compete for Viridian

Owner of Energia and Power NI has been on the block since December with €1bn price tag

Viridian’s  372-tonne gas turbine generator at its power plant in Huntstown,  north Dublin

Viridian’s 372-tonne gas turbine generator at its power plant in Huntstown, north Dublin

 

The owners of Bord Gáis Energy and Airtricity are thought to be in the race to buy their rival Viridian after submitting first-round offers for the business yesterday.

Viridian, owner of electricity and gas suppliers Energia and Power NI, has been on the block since early last month with an estimated €1 billion price tag, when its Bahraini owner, Arcapita Bank, sought bids for it.

Both Centrica, which owns Bord Gáis Energy, and Airtricity owner Scottish & Southern Electricity (SSE) are understood to have submitted bids for the energy group.

Linked to deal

Reports this week suggested that Australian finance group AMP could also be in the running, although the company did not confirm this.

Investment fund Brookfield, which bought Bord Gáis Energy’s wind generation business two years ago, has also been named as a potential bidder, but it has been suggested that it will make any offer in tandem with Centrica.

The pair teamed up in 2014 to buy Bord Gáis Energy from the State, with Brookfield taking the Irish company’s wind business and Centrica its generating plant and customer supply operations.

Viridian owns two gas-fired power plants in Huntstown, Dublin. It supplies gas and electricity to businesses and consumers. It owns Power NI, a regulated utility with 610,000 customers.

Arcapita has long been expected to sell Viridian, and has come close to putting it on the market several times in the past. It bought the Irish energy company in 2006.