Belfast Telegraph

Ballylumford snapped up for £102m

By Amanda Poole

US firm AES is now the biggest energy producer in Northern Ireland after the confirmation of a multi-million pound deal to buy Ballylumford power station.

AES Ballylumford Holdings Limited, acquired Premier Power Limited (PPL) for £102m in cash, giving it a 15% share of Ireland's electricity market.

PPL's assets include the gas-fired Ballylumford power station near Larne, which has operated for over 60 years.

AES already owns the Kilroot power plant near Carrickfergus, so the deal brings together two of the province's largest energy generators, both of which entered the power market in Northern Ireland when it was privatised in 1992.

The £102m is a slight rise from the £99m figure reported when the transaction was announced last month. But at one time PPL had been expected to fetch as much as £300m.

Andres Gluski, AES chief operating officer said: "We were able to pursue this compelling opportunity in large part because of the strength of our liquidity and our presence in Northern Ireland.

"I am confident that we will integrate this business with AES quickly and effectively."

Economist John Simpson said: "It is now up to the Regulator to make a clear statement about the implications and exercise its function by explaining how operations will be supervised."

A spokesperson for the Utility Regulator said it regulates AES Kilroot Power Limited and Premiere Power Limited through license conditions to ensure consumers are protected.

"In light of this transaction, we intend to consult on whether any modifications to either license would be appropriate."

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