Irish utility company Bord Gais Eireann invited Blackstone Group LP and power companies Viridian Group Ltd. and Centrica Plc to make final offers for its retail unit by Nov. 25, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The state-owned gas company, based in Cork, will only entertain bids for the entire retail and power generation unit, even after fielding approaches for individual assets such as wind farms, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified, as the matter is private. The government is keen to pick a preferred bidder before it exits its international aid program on Dec. 15, another person said.
Viridian, Northern Ireland’s largest energy supplier, was the only bidder to submit an offer above a 1 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) reserve in the last round of bids in September, people with knowledge of the matter said Oct. 10. While Ireland agreed to sell the unit under its bailout in 2010, Irish Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has said it will only do so if it gets a “fair price.”
Blackstone, which expressed an interest in Bord Gais Energy before bowing out before first-round bids in June, re-entered the process in the past month, according to two people. The Financial Times reported Blackstone’s re-emergence as a potential bidder on Nov. 6.
Viridian’s bid is backed by Macquarie Group Ltd., people with knowledge of the matter said on Oct. 10.
Spokesmen for Bord Gais, Blackstone, Centrica and Viridian declined to comment.
Tenaga Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s biggest energy producer, scrapped a bid for the business last month, Fazlur Rahman Zainuddin, its chief financial officer, said in an interview that the Kuala Lumpur-based company had “other priorities.”