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Saturday, June 16, 2012
British energy giant SSE is set to further boost its presence here, through the €320m acquisition of the Irish assets of Spanish utility Endesa and the creation of 700 jobs.
Endesa is actually taking a loss on the sale of its Irish operations — which consist of a number of power plants around the country — having bought them for €450m from the ESB three years ago. SSE, — formerly Scottish and Southern Energy, — will also be investing some €168m on top of the acquisition spend, bringing its total outlay on the assets to €488m.
The Perth-headquartered firm owns Dublin-based electricity provider Airtricity and last month added the Northern-based residential gas supplier Phoenix to its Irish portfolio.
"The completion of this acquisition will make SSE the third largest energy company across the island, with 750,000 customers," said finance director Gregor Alexander.
"Furthermore, it will take our total investment into the future of Irish energy to over €1.7bn in the last five years, of which half relates to the period since Airtricity became part of SSE in 2008."
The Endesa deal covers a 460mw combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT), which has recently entered the construction phase at Great Island, Co Wexford, and which is expected to be commissioned in 2014. This will replace the existing 240mw fuel oil unit at the same site.
Elsewhere, the acquisition includes 208mw of operational flexible plants at Tawnaghmore, Co Mayo, and Rhode, Co Offaly, plus a number of further development options — one of which will be planning permission for a CCGT at the existing 620mw Tarbert plant in Co Kerry.
The deal is subject to Irish Competition Authority approval, but this is expected to be granted before the end of the summer.
On the jobs front, most of Endesa Ireland’s existing staff are expected to stay under the new ownership. In addition, the Scottish firm is talking up the creation of 700 direct and indirect jobs over the coming two years.
Inside the next 12 months, 100 jobs will be created — mainly in Airtricity — which will boost the group’s workforce here to 900 people. Another 600 indirect construction jobs will be created for work on the various plants between this summer and 2014.
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