Centrica prepares team for gas bid

Centrica, Britain’s largest household energy supplier, picked Citigroup to advise on a potential bid for the retail unit of State-owned gas company Bord Gáis, said three sources.

Goodbody Stockbrokers and law firm Arthur Cox have also been retained by Centrica to help with an offer for the gas and electricity supplier, said the people, who asked not to be identified. Bord Gáis set a June 12 deadline for indicative bids for the unit, which may be valued at as much as €1.4 billion, including debt, two people said on May 24.

The business, Bord Gáis Energy, owns 15% of Ireland’s installed wind farms. Officials from Centrica, Citigroup, and Goodbody Stockbrokers declined to comment. Arthur Cox spokeswoman Rachel Hussey did not return a call to her office on May 24 or immediately respond to messages left yesterday.

“The Irish and UK energy markets are closely linked so it’s natural for us to be interested in what goes on there,” Centrica said.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said last week that Ireland is also committed to selling two overseas power stations and the National Lottery licence by the end of the year. The disposals are as part the nation’s agreement to raise €3bn from asset sales under the 2010 bailout.

GDF Suez SA, France’s largest utility by market value, and Germany’s E.ON SE may bid for he business, the Sunday Business Post reported on March 17. Blackstone Group LP has also received an information circulated to potential bidders.

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