Centrica Said Among Bidders for Ireland’s Bord Gais Energy Unit

Centrica Plc, the U.K’s largest home power company, and Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Malaysia’s biggest energy group, filed bids for the retail and power generation unit of state-owned gas company Bord Gais Eireann, people with knowledge of the matter said.

SSE Plc also planned to submit a bid, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private, speaking before the 5 p.m. bid deadline in Dublin yesterday. The bids are non-binding.

“In line with expectations, interest in the company is strong,” Bord Gais said in an e-mailed statement. The sale process is expected to conclude by the end of the year, the Cork-based company said.

Bord Gais and its advisers, RBC Capital Markets, may eliminate some bidders before calling second-round offers, people with knowledge of the matter said. Officials from Centrica and SSE declined to comment. Tenaga Chief Executive Officer Azman Mohd couldn’t be immediately reached for comment by phone, as it’s after working hours in Kuala Lumpur.

Ireland is selling the Bord Gais Energy division as part of an accord stemming from its 67.5 billion-euro ($89.6 billion) international bailout in 2010. The business 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.

Viridian Looks

Viridian Group Ltd., Northern Ireland’s largest energy supplier, was also lining up a bid, which may result in its taking on a partner, according to a person briefed on the matter, before the deadline.

Viridian is owned by Bahrain-based investment firm Arcapita Bank BSC, which said June 10 that it will sell its investments “on a coordinated basis designed to maximize value” as it seeks to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

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.

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

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