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
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.