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UUP leader Tom Elliott had opposed the sale of NIE to ESB, complaining that the takeover was being funded by the Irish government's bailout borrowings. Paul Faith/PA Wire
Electric Ireland

ESB buys Northern energy company in €1.4bn deal

The £1.2bn takeover deal is completed, despite the opposition of Unionist politicians resenting an all-Ireland energy company.

THE ESB has completed the takeover of Northern Ireland Energy (NIE) in a deal with £1.2bn (€1.4bn).

The deal sees the Irish semi-state complete a takeover it had announced in July, and add 1,300 staff to its rosters, according to RTÉ.

ESB had been in competition with NIE and its parent company Viridian to supply electricity to corporate and industrial customers since the deregulation of the energy markets on both sides of the border, and the creation of an All-Ireland energy market in 2007.

ESB chief executive Padraig McManus said he was “delighted” with the completion of the deal, describing NIE as “efficient and successful”.

Patrick Haren, Viridian Group chairman, told the BBC that the sale of NIE would see it provide more renewable energy.

NIE will retain its own branding as part of the takeover, which had been opposed by unionist politicians who complained about placing the electricity supply of many Northern Irish homes into the hands of an all-Ireland entity part-owned by the Dublin government.

UUP leader Tom Elliott complained that the ESB, a state-owned entity, was funded by the Irish government which itself “has been bailed out by the EU and the UK.”

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