Terra Firma Said To Near Sale of Phoenix Energy

Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd., the private-equity firm run by Guy Hands, is near an agreement to sell its Northern Irish gas distribution company Phoenix Energy Holdings Group to Hastings Funds Management Ltd., said two people familiar with the talks.

The deal may be announced as early as today, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Hastings may pay about 700 million pounds ($1.06 billion) for Phoenix, one of the people said.

Phoenix was established in 1996 to bring natural gas to Northern Ireland and has about 140,000 domestic and business customers and employs more than 3,000 people, according to the corporate website. Terra Firma invested in the company in 2005, its website shows.

The deal, if completed, would be Terra Firma’s second exit from a portfolio company this year following the listing of German residential landlord Deutsche Annington Immobilien SE on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in July.

An official at London-based Terra Firma declined to comment. Representatives for Hastings didn’t reply to messages requesting comment.

Private-equity firms typically pool money from pension plans and insurance companies. They usually charge a management fee of as much as 2 percent and keep 20 percent of the profits from investments.

The pools are largely structured to last a decade with an investment period of five years, after which the private-equity firm will look to raise a new fund. Terra Firma raised 5.4 billion euros ($7.1 billion) for its last private-equity pool in 2007, according to the company’s website.

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