Malaysia’s Tenaga Said to Plan Bid for Ireland’s Bord Gais Unit

Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Malaysia’s largest power group, is considering a bid for the retail and power generation unit of Irish state-owned gas company Bord Gais Eireann, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

A successful offer would mark the Kuala Lumpur-based company’s initial foray into the European utilities market, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified, as the talks are private. Fazlur Rahman Zainuddin, chief financial officer at Tenaga, didn’t immediately respond to calls and e-mail seeking comment on the planned bid.

U.K. energy companies Centrica Plc and SSE Plc are also among companies preparing bids with initial offers for Bord Gais Energy due tomorrow. In an e-mail response to questions, a Bord Gais spokesman declined to comment on potential bidders.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said last month he’s committed to selling the business by the end of the year as part the nation’s agreement to raise 3 billion euros ($4 billion) from asset sales under its 2010 international bailout. Bord Gais Energy, which owns 15 percent of Ireland’s installed wind farms, may be valued at as much as 1.4 billion euros, including debt, two people familiar with the sale said May 28.

Centrica Interest

Centrica, the U.K.’s largest household energy supplier, picked Citigroup Inc., and Dublin-based Goodbody Stockbrokers and law firm Arthur Cox to advise on a potential bid for the company, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

SSE Plc, the U.K.’s second-biggest energy supplier, which owns Irish-based wind power company Airtricity, also plans to take part in the auction, the Irish Independent reported June 6, citing an interview with the company’s departing Chief Executive Ian Marchant. According to the Dublin-based newspaper, Marchant said he hoped “for Ireland’s sake” that a rival would be prepared to pay more than SSE for the unit.

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.

“Keppel is constantly evaluating opportunities where it is able to grow its businesses,” the company said in an e-mailed response to questions, without commenting on bidding for Bord Gais.

Blackstone Group LP has also received information circulated to potential bidders, the Irish Times said on May 25.

With assistance from Kyunghee Park in Singapore. --Editors: Chris V. Nicholson, Dara Doyle

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