Sale of Bord Gais Energy in €1.1bn deal to Centrica consortium finalised
1,000 Bord Gais staff 'happy' to get windfall of up to €66,000 each
Published 21/03/2014 | 02:30
Bord Gáis has confirmed the terms of the sale of its energy division to a consortium made up of Centrica, Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners and Icon Infrastructure.
In a statement, the company said that the full terms of the sale have been finalised and transaction documentation signed on the $1.1bn deal which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.
Bord Gáis Energy staff will transfer to the new group with their existing working terms and conditions.
However, the Government will retain ownership of the natural gas network.
"We are pleased to announce that an agreement to sell the Bord Gáis Energy business has been signed. The commitment made by these buyers to acquire the business is a strong vote of confidence in the Irish energy market, the Irish economy and in the Bord Gáis Energy business and its employees," said Pat Rabbitte, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources alongside Brendan Howlin, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform said
The agreement was struck just before Christmas.
A deal with the Bord Gais employment share ownership scheme was announced last week.
Last week, Bord Gais employees gave a cautious welcome to a €53m tax-free windfall from a share ownership scheme which will see some veteran workers earn up to €66,000.
The workers – and some former staff – at the state-owned utility company are to get payouts averaging €55,000, employees were told yesterday at meetings in Cork, Dublin and Belfast.
News of the bounty for the gas and water workers was announced as the company sells the energy business and take on Irish Water.
To make this happen, Bord Gais needs to buy the small stake in the company owned by employees.
Workers have expressed concern about proposed future changes to the successful state firm which will see its profitable energy division sold off.
Cork staff were the first to be briefed on the share ownership scheme wind-up with further briefings staged in Dublin.
"No one is going to say 'no' to getting a few thousand euro. But I suppose everyone is a little concerned about what future changes are going to mean for the company," one Cork worker told the Irish Independent.
The man, who has over 20 years' service with Bord Gais, said the traditional strength of the firm was its stability and its experienced workforce.
"It is a challenging time what with the Irish Water roll-out. The consensus is that people are delighted with a few extra quid but once it is not at the expense of a great company to work for."
Another worker said they were shocked at the value of the windfall which will range from a minimum of €17,000 up to a maximum of €66,000.
Anyone who was not an employee of Bord Gais from 2004 to 2009 will not qualify for the payments.
"To be honest, I think people thought the payments would be between €10,000 and about 20,000," one female worker said.
A total of 1,000 Bord Gais employees are expected to qualify for payments as the worker share ownership scheme is wound down.
Only employees who were working for the company between 2005 and 2009 will share in any windfall. That decision has triggered resentment among other workers who joined the company later.
Of the 1,000-plus employees who qualify for payments, about 750 are still employed by the firm. The others have either retired or moved on.
However, they retain their qualification for payments irrespective of where they now work.