Viridian on pole to buy Bord Gáis

Irish independent power producer Viridian has emerged as the most likely buyer of the electricity arm of Bord Gáis, Ireland’s largest wind-energy generator.

Viridian, owned since 2006 by Bahraini investment bank Arcapita, has outbid Centrica, its closest contender, according to local press reports.

The winner will emerge as one of the most powerful wind companies in Ireland, a wind market slated for huge growth in the years ahead, especially in the event that a grand export deal with the UK materialises.

One sticking point is the relatively disappointing bids that have come in. Both Viridian and Centrica tendered bids at around €1bn ($1.36bn), compared to earlier estimates of €1.4bn.

A number of companies initially thought to be interested have walked away, including SSE and, most recently, Malaysia’s Tenaga Nasional, the largest power utility in southeast Asia.

State-owned Bord Gáis’s wind assets are among its most attractive, with more than 250MW of capacity on its books thanks to its 2009 acquisition of Irish developer SWS.

The Irish government is selling off the power arm of Bord Gáis in a move with important consequences for Ireland’s budgetary situation. The government will hold onto its stake in Bord Gáis’s gas business.