Advisers due to be appointed ahead of auction process by NTMA for business worth between €1bn and €1.4bn
The auction process to sell state-owned Bord Gais Energy (BGE) will kick off in the first quarter of next year, the Irish Independent has learned.
The sale of BGE is to be the first privatisation under the Government's New Era programme, which aims to raise €3bn through the disposal of state assets, including shares in Aer Lingus; Coillte's assets, excluding its land banks; and some ESB assets.
The Bord Gais Energy sale will not include the Bord Gais network infrastructure.
An adviser is to be appointed imminently to help manage the sale, tasked at setting a valuation for the business, organising the sale process and drumming up interest in the asset.
Responsibility for the entire privatisation programme sale lies with the New Era unit of the NTMA.
The BGE business being put up for sale is reckoned to be valued at between €1bn and €1.4bn.
BGE has three main operating areas. Its retail arm has 468,000 gas and 407,000 electricity customers.
Its trading unit is responsible for the procurement of gas, electricity and carbon, as was portfolio optimisation, risk management, hedging and trading strategies and market modelling.
Its assets include the 445MW Whitegate power station as well as 234MW of operational wind assets and 460MW of wind-energy assets in development.
BGE itself is understood to be close to naming its own advisers to work on the sale.
One issue likely to be closely watched across the rest of the commercial semi-state sector, and beyond, is the role of the company's employee share ownership trust (ESOT) in any sale.
Employees of Bord Gais hold a 3.27pc stake in the entire company. How they fare when the business is split and whether the shares are sold in any auction or will sit alongside a new private sector owner has all still to be decided.
The timescale for the appointment of advisers means consultants will be in situ before the new Bord Gais chief executive who will ultimately have to see the sale through.
The semi-state advertised this month for a new chief executive of "exceptional calibre" to take the helm.