Bord Gáis invites final offers for retail unit

Bord Gáis Éireann has invited Blackstone Group LP and power companies Viridian Group Ltd and Centrica Plc to make final offers for its retail unit by Nov 25, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The state-owned gas company, based in Cork, will only entertain bids for the entire retail and power generation unit, even after fielding approaches for individual assets such as wind farms, said the sources.. The Government is keen to pick a bidder before it exits its international aid programme on Dec 15, another person said.

Viridian, Northern Ireland’s largest energy supplier, was the only bidder to submit an offer above a €1bn reserve in the last round of bids in September.

While Ireland agreed to sell the unit under its bailout in 2010, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has said it will only do so if it gets a “fair price.”

Blackstone, which expressed an interest in Bord Gais Energy before bowing out before first-round bids in June, re-entered the process in the past month, according to two people. The Financial Times reported Blackstone’s re-emergence as a potential bidder on Nov 6. Viridian’s bid is backed by Macquarie Group Ltd.

— Bloomberg

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