ESB to buy Northern Ireland electricity company

ESB has entered into an agreement with the Arcapita Bank-owned Viridian Group for the acquisition, by a wholly-owned subsidiary of ESB, of Northern Ireland Electricity plc (NIE), the Northern Ireland transmission and distribution business of the Viridian Group.

ESB has entered into an agreement with the Arcapita Bank-owned Viridian Group for the acquisition, by a wholly-owned subsidiary of ESB, of Northern Ireland Electricity plc (NIE), the Northern Ireland transmission and distribution business of the Viridian Group.

As part of the acquisition, ESB will also acquire certain associated companies of NIE, including NIE Powerteam Limited and Powerteam Electrical Services (UK) Limited, which provide electrical construction and maintenance services (together with NIE, the NIE Group).

In total, the NIE Group employs approximately 1,300 staff.

Under the terms of the share purchase agreement, ESB will pay €1.25bn for the NIE Group subject to certain completion adjustments.

ESB will also assume obligations of the NIE Group, including those under a €211m bond. NIE's Regulated Asset Base at 31 March 2010 was €1.215bn.

Completion of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including conditions relating to Irish and UK competition clearances and notifications and a refinancing of the existing indebtedness of the Viridian Group.

Subject to fulfilment of the conditions, the transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2010.

Arcapita will continue to own the Viridian Group, which it acquired in 2006.

Its principal businesses following completion of the transaction will be Viridian Power & Energy, the Power Procurement business and NIE Energy Supply.

These businesses employ approximately 340 people.

ESB Chief Executive, Padraig McManus, said: “This acquisition demonstrates ESB’s continued ambition to grow our business in the rapidly changing energy sector on this island.”

Article courtesy of the Evening Echo newspaper.

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