SSE to acquire NI’s Phoenix Supply in stg£19.1m deal

16 May 2012

Phoenix Energy Holding's CEO Peter Dixon and Kevin Greenhorn, SSE's director of Business Supply, Contracting and International and CEO of Airtricity

SSE is planning to acquire Northern Irish gas supplier Phoenix Supply in a deal worth stg£19.1m. The acquisition, if it goes ahead, will make Airtricity, SSE’s retail supply brand, Northern Ireland’s second-largest energy provider and the third-largest energy provider on the island of Ireland, the company claimed today.

Phoenix Supply is the regulated supplier of natural gas to around 130,000 domestic and business customers in the greater Belfast area. SSE said today that the total cash consideration is stg£19.1m, with this excluding working capital-related adjustments.

SSE said its retail supply brand Airtricity will now become Northern Ireland’s second-largest energy supplier and a dual fuel provider of gas and electricity to more than 230,000 customers.

In addition, SSE said Airtricity will become an all-island dual fuel energy provider supplying electricity and gas to more than 750,000 customers.

The company said this would be equivalent to 20.1pc of the all-island total energy market, based on total market share as of April 2012. It said this means Airtricity will become the third-largest energy provider on the island.

The acquisition is still subject to approval by the Irish Competition Authority, but SSE expects to complete the purchase during the summer. It said it has also notified the Regulatory Authorities of its intention to acquire the Phoenix supply businesses.

Kevin Greenhorn, SSE’s director of Business Supply, Contracting and International and CEO of Airtricity, said SSE sees the agreement with Phoenix Supply as an “exciting new chapter” for its growth in the Northern Ireland marketplace.

“This is a significant step forward for both Airtricity and Phoenix Supply as we seek to become the largest supplier of both electricity and natural gas in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Greenhorn pointed to how the deal would extend SSE’s commitment towards employing people and making investments in Northern Ireland.

“We are committed to maintaining the same locally-based staff and upon receipt of approval from the Competition Authority we look forward to welcoming Phoenix Supply staff into the SSE family as we grow our business here,” he said.

Phoenix’s supply and meter reading businesses employs about 70 people.

“We look forward to completing this acquisition as soon as possible,” added Greenhorn.

Airtricity entered Northern Ireland’s domestic electricity market in 2010.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic