Arcapita Bank B.S.C.(c) and its affiliates announced today that they have entered into an agreement to sell Northern Ireland Electricity plc (NIE), the Northern Ireland transmission and distribution business, currently owned by the Arcapita-owned Viridian Group, to a wholly owned subsidiary of ESB, Ireland’s premier electricity utility.
As part of the sale, ESB will also acquire additional NIE Group Companies , including NIE Powerteam Limited and Powerteam Electrical Services (UK) Limited, which provide electrical construction and maintenance services (together with NIE, the NIE Group). In total, the NIE Group employs approximately 1,300 staff.
Under the terms of the share purchase agreement, ESB will pay £1,034 million for the NIE Group, subject to certain completion adjustments. ESB will also assume the existing obligations of the NIE Group, including those under their existing £175 million Eurobond.
Arcapita will continue to own the Viridian Group, which it acquired in 2006. Its principal businesses following completion of the transaction will be Viridian Power & Energy, the Power Procurement business and NIE Energy Supply. These businesses employ approximately 340 people.
Arcapita Chief Executive, Atif A.Abdulmalik said: “This announcement is part of a comprehensive strategy to refinance Viridian’s balance sheet, and to deleverage the capital structure prior to the refinancing which will be required from 2011. Amidst the continuing market volatility, it is a notable achievement for Arcapita. After a four year holding period, the transaction offers us an attractive way to realize value from within Viridian, stabilize the financial structure and focus on what we continue to believe are the excellent growth opportunities for our investors in the remaining business.”
Completion of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including conditions relating to Irish and UK competition clearances and notifications and a refinancing of the existing indebtedness of the Viridian Group. Subject to fulfilment of these conditions, the transaction is expected to complete by the end of 2010.