Northern Ireland electricity company Budget Energy has been bought over by an energy company in the Republic.
Flogas Ireland said the takeover will enable it to expand into the home and business electricity market in Northern Ireland.
The Co Louth-based firm has operated in the sale of LPG fuel in Northern Ireland for around 30 years.
Budget Energy, which is based in Londonderry, has over 90,000 customers.
John Rooney, managing director, Flogas Ireland, said: “The Budget Energy acquisition is a significant step forward in the growth of Flogas and accelerates our vision to be one of Ireland’s leading all-island energy suppliers.”
Flogas Ireland said there would be no immediate change for Budget Energy customers, and that its customer service office would remain in Derry.
However, it said it does plan to recruit staff in sales, marketing and customer service to support growth.
George McEvoy, chief executive and owner of Budget Energy, said: “While sad to be leaving Budget Energy, I am delighted that Flogas, an established Irish energy company with deep roots in Ireland and the community, has bought the business. I am confident that this will be a positive development both for the Budget energy team and our customers in the months and years ahead and I wish them well.”
Paulino Garcia, head of energy policy at The Consumer Council in Northern Ireland, said it had spoken to Budget Energy and Flogas on behalf of consumers, and had been told there would be no change to terms and conditions on existing contracts or prices “in the near future”.
“The Consumer Council welcomes the assurances that Flogas and Budget Energy have given to ensure the rights of existing customers remain unchanged. We will work with both companies over the coming weeks to ensure the interests of their customers are represented throughout this process.”
Budget Energy was co-founded by Eleanor McEvoy, a former judge on business reality TV show Dragon’s Den on RTE. She is also a former finalist of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition. However, Ms McEvoy left the business after her divorce from Mr McEvoy.