Ion dismisses SWS sale rumours

ION Equity, owners of Topaz petrol stations, has dismissed rumours of an impending sale of its SWS subsidiary.

Ion bought SWS in the last days of 2006 for €110 million. SWS was owned by five co-ops — Bandon, Barryroe, Drinagh, Lisavaird and Dairygold’s REOX offshoot, as well as group management.

Ion would not rule out a sale if it got an offer too good to ignore and has had approaches for the Bandon-based group, which specialises in wind farms and back office administration, where its client list includes the Department of Transport and Bank of Ireland.

Roughly 500 full- and part-time jobs are accounted for by the group.

Sources close to the company said the sale of SWS has not been considered at any time by Ion since it snatched the group from under the nose of investment group, One51, led by Philip Lynch, nearly two years ago.

However, there has been speculation in the Dublin market that the business would be put up for sale in early 2009 as Ion, which spent over €400m buying Shell and Statoil’s petrol stations, reviews its investment strategy.

SWS would be highly attractive to other renewable energy firms such as Bord Gáis and the ESB seen as potential buyers.


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