ESB to buy NIE from Viridian for €1.2bn

7 Jul 2010

The Irish energy company Viridian is to sell the networks business of Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) to the ESB for €1.2bn.

NIE, which employs 1,300 people, owns the regulated electricity transmission and distribution network in Northern Ireland and is responsible for the planning, development, construction and maintenance of the entire network.

The purchase also covers associated businesses of NIE, including NIE Powerteam Limited and Powerteam Electrical Service, which provide electrical construction and maintenance services.

Completion of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including approval from the Irish and UK competition authorities and a refinancing of the existing indebtedness of the Viridian Group.  Subject to fulfilment of these conditions, the transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2010.

Following its acquisition by ESB, NIE will continue to operate as a standalone business under the same brand and identity.

ESB chief executive comments on acquisition

“This acquisition demonstrates ESB’s continued ambition to grow our business in the rapidly changing energy sector on this island. NIE is a well-run, efficient business and will continue to operate on that basis.  ESB is fully committed to delivering the significant investment in Northern Ireland’s transmission and distribution networks that will be required to deliver our common energy sustainability policy objectives over the coming years and we believe that customers in Northern Ireland will benefit from this transaction in the longer term,” said ESB chief executive Padraig McManus.

“This transaction represents an important milestone in the development of the Viridian Group. It allows the group’s regulated network activities to further their growth under new ownership. The employees of the NIE Group can feel proud of recent achievements and we wish them well for the future,” added Viridian Group chairman Patrick Haren.

ESB Networks and NIE said they will both play a critical role in assisting Governments North and South to achieve energy and environmental targets and policy objectives, including building the infrastructure and connections required for the development of more renewable generation, rolling out smart metering and enhancing security of supply through strengthened interconnection. 

Article courtesy of