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Phoenix Gas owner on lookout for more Irish energy asset buys

By David Elliott

Published 09/05/2011

Terra Firma, the private equity company which owns Phoenix Gas, is on the prowl for more energy assets across Northern Ireland and the Republic.

"The potential purchase of further energy assets across the island would represent a natural fit and an expansion opportunity," Terra Firma said in a statement last night.

Through its renewable energy company Infinis, it recenlty bought the Co Tyrone wind farm Slieve Divena and now says it's ready to expand further.

In particular, it has its eyes on the Republic's state-owned Bord Gais which, along with ESB, could be broken up.

A report written by economist Colm McCarthy, hired last July by the Republic's previous government, said in April Bord Gais's non-transmisson operations should be sold to help repay the country's debt. It also recommended the sale of ESB's energy supply business.

"Any Bord Gais assets that become available for acquisition would be very seriously considered," Terra Firma said.

At the time of writing, Bord Gais had not replied when questioned as to whether it would be selling its non-transmisson business. Nevertheless, the private equity firm's intentions bode well for the economy across Ireland.

Since 1994, Terra Firma has invested over €14bn (£12.3bn) of equity and completed transactions with an aggregate enterprise value of €43 (£37.8bn).

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