Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ultimate parent company of Power NI ‘preparing to sell all-island business’

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Power NI, whose parent company has been tipped for a sale by its owner I Squared Capital, is NI’s biggest electricity supplier

The owner of Energia Group, parent company of Northern Ireland’s biggest electricity supplier, is preparing to sell the business, according to reports.

According to the Irish Times, the US investment firm I Squared Capital has hired investment bankers to sell Energia, which owns Power NI as well as the Energia brands.

I Squared Capital has owned Energia since taking it over in 2016, when it was known as Viridian Group Holdings Ltd.

It’s understood representatives from Morgan Stanley and Barclays have been hired by I Squared Capital, with Santander instructed to put together a “pre-arranged debt package,” the Irish Times said.

Power NI is Northern Ireland’s largest electricity supplier and supplies over half a million homes and businesses.

Energia supplies electricity and gas to 300,700 customers in the Republic of Ireland.

Power NI and I Squared Capital did not return requests for comment.

Energia generated revenue of €4.5bn in the financial year to the end of March last year. It posted an operating profit of €354m, which was up from €178m the year before.

The group’s net debt fell to €342.1m from €584.2m. Energia has paid at least €181m in dividends to its parent since it was acquired by I Squared.

During the 2023 financial year, its customer-facing business made a loss of €162.1m, compared to a loss of €115.4m in the previous year.

The group, led by chief executive Ian Thom, said that loss reflected lower electricity and gas margins due to higher commodity and energy prices, partly offset by higher charges for consumers and businesses.

A sale of the owner of Power NI follows another major transaction in the NI energy market.

Last month gas network company Phoenix Energy confirmed that CK Infrastructure Holdings Limited (CKI) had acquired full ownership of the business from NatWest Group Pension Fund and the Utilities Trust of Australia in a deal estimated to be worth £757m.

Electricity Ireland has announced it is withdrawing from the Northern Ireland domestic electricity market to focus on businesses. It’s the third-biggest supplier, with over 50,000 domestic customers.

SSE Airtricity is Northern Ireland’s second-biggest electricity supplier.

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