Friday 9 December 2016

Viridian's wind-farm assets put up for sale

Published 04/02/2012 | 05:00

Irish wind-farm assets belonging to energy firm Viridian have been formally put up for sale by the company's Bahrain owner, Arcapita. They could fetch as much as €200m.

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Private equity firm Arcapita, which acquired Northern Ireland-based Viridian in 2006 for $4.2bn (€3.2bn), has hired Royal Bank of Scotland to initiate the sales process.

The bank began sending out teaser documentation to potentially interested buyers this week, it's understood. The wind assets comprise about 104 megawatts in total of projects that are either completed or in the development process.

Will Ainger, the co-editor of energy industry publication 'SparkSpread', which reported the planned sale, said Viridian owned Dublin-based Eco Wind Power.

Eco Wind owns seven operational wind farms in Donegal, Roscommon and Sligo, with a combined capacity of 44.4 megawatts.

It also owns a further 9.2 megawatts of capacity that's due to come online in May. Eco Wind also owns a further two projects in Northern Ireland with a combined capacity of 50.6 megawatts that are due to be commissioned later this year.

Mr Ainger said he reckoned the assets would sell for an enterprise value of somewhere between €175m and €200m.

"The sale is part of a move by Viridian's owner to refinance and reduce the debt load it took on to fund the purchase of the Irish utility six years ago," he said.

Arcapita is also seeking to refinance about £800m (€963m) of debt in the bond markets in the coming months. Deutsche Bank and RBS are advising on the refinancing process.

Viridian sold its transmission and distribution business, Northern Ireland Electricity, to the ESB last year for a total of about £1.2bn (€1.4bn). That included the £1.03bn purchase price for the company and the assumption of obligations under a £175m eurobond.

The review of state assets by Colm McCarthy recommended the NIE unit be among the ESB assets sold by the Government.

Irish Independent

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