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Viridian Taps Macquarie in Bid for Irish Bord Gais Unit

Viridian Group Ltd., Northern Ireland’s largest energy supplier, hired Macquarie Group Ltd. to advise on its bid for the retail and power generation unit of Irish state-owned gas company Bord Gais Eireann, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Bord Gais continues to assess initial offers for the business, received June 12, and has yet to outline when it will call for second-round bids, according to four other people, who asked not to be identified, as the process is private. The unit may be valued at as much as 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion), including debt, two people familiar with the sale said May 28.

A successful Viridian bid may ultimately lead to a combined company with Bord Gais Energy being put up for sale in the future. Viridian’s parent, Bahrain-based investment firm Arcapita Bank BSC, said last month it will sell its investments “on a coordinated basis designed to maximize value” as it seeks to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S.

Viridian said on June 20 Arcapita’s restructuring plan doesn’t affect its day-to-day business and that the Northern Ireland power company is “financially self sufficient.” It said Arcapita’s plans include that its investments be sold “over their natural investment life cycle.”

Officials from Viridian and Macquarie declined to comment on being involved in an offer for Bord Gais Energy. Bord Gais spokeswoman Christine Heffernan declined to comment on bidders. A spokesman for Arcapita was not immediately available for comment.

Other Bidders

Centrica Plc, the U.K’s largest home power company, and Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Malaysia’s biggest energy group, filed bids for Bord Gais Energy ahead of the June 12 deadline, people familiar with the process said at the time.

Ireland is selling the business as part of an accord stemming from its 67.5 billion-euro international bailout in 2010. GDF Suez SA, France’s largest utility by market value, and Germany’s E.ON SE may bid for the business, the Sunday Business Post reported March 17. Keppel Corp., the world’s biggest oil-rig maker, based in Singapore, is also interested in the company, the same newspaper reported May 19.

Credit Suisse Group AG has also been advising Viridian on a potential bid, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. The Sunday Times first reported Credit Suisse’s involvement in April. Credit Suisse officials weren’t immediately able to comment.

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