Arcapita Is Said to Invite Bids for Viridian by Next Month

  • Evercore is advising Bahrain-based Arcapita on auction
  • Northern Irish utility may be worth $1.1 billion, report said

Viridian Group Ltd.’s Bahraini owner, Arcapita Bank BSC, is seeking first-round bids for Northern Ireland’s largest energy supplier next month, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Arcapita, which is being advised by Evercore Partners Inc. in London, has called for bids by Jan. 15, one of the people said on Tuesday, asking not to be named because the process is private.

The yield on Viridian’s 2020 bonds fell Wednesday, extending a decline of more than 1 percentage point since Sept. 29, when the Irish Independent reported the Belfast-based company may be sold for as much as 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion). A spokesman for Viridian declined to comment, while officials at Arcapita didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Viridian, which was bought by Arcapita in 2006, is likely to attract interest from Centrica Plc, according to Joseph McGinley, an analyst with Davy, Ireland’s largest securities firm. Centrica led a group that bought Irish energy company Bord Gais Energy last year for 1.12 billion euros. A spokesman for Centrica, the biggest energy supplier to U.K. homes, declined to comment.

The yield on Viridian’s 2020 bonds fell as low as 6.74 percent on Wednesday, the lowest since April, from 6.85 percent on Tuesday. Davy’s McGinley said a sale or initial public offering should provide a “stronger buffer” for senior debt holders, helping tighten the yield on Viridian’s bonds. He said Arcapita would probably get more value from an IPO of Viridian than a sale.

Arcapita filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. in 2012 after talks with creditors over a syndicated loan failed. It exited bankruptcy a year later after securing a $350 million loan from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

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