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For sale: State asset sell-off begins as Bord Gáis Energy invites bids

The energy arm of Bord Gáis Éireann is one of a number of State-run companies the government intends to sell-off in the coming year.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

BORD GÁIS ÉIREANN has announced the beginning of the formal sale process of its energy business, Bord Gáis Energy, with it claimed that as much as €1 billion could be raised from the sell-off.

In a statement issued this evening the company said that it expected the sale – which is part of the government’s move to dispose of a number of State assets – to be completed by the end of the year, subject to market conditions.

The company’s finance director, Michael G O’Sullivan described the announcement as an “important milestone” and added: “Throughout this process, the business will continue to focus on delivering consistent and outstanding service to our customers.”

Parties interested in bidding for the company – which has 775,00 customers in Ireland – have been invited to contact its financial advisor RBC Capital Markets.

British energy firm Centrica, France’s GDF Suez and German energy company E-on have all been mentioned as possible bidders.

The sell-off is part of the government’s agreement with the EU/IMF troika to raise some €3 billion from the privatisation of State-owned companies.

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Half of the money raised is expected to pay down debt accumulated as part of the bailout programme with the government saying the other 50 per cent of the money raised will be used for job creation measures.

In addition to the energy arm of Bord Gáis, parts of ESB (now Electric Ireland) and the forestry company Coillte could also be sold off although the Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said earlier this week that the “mooted privatisation of Coillte looks more unlikely every day”.

There has been considerable opposition to the sell-off of harvesting rights on forests owned by the State-run Coillte with the Irish Timber Council claiming in a recent report that it would jeopardise 2,500 jobs.

Read: Bord Gáis says 100,000 customers have agreed repayment plans

Read: Half of proceeds from State assets sale must pay down debt – Troika

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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