Tenaga Exit Said to Leave Two Bids for Ireland’s Bord Gais Unit

Tenaga Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s biggest energy producer, scrapped a bid for a unit of Ireland’s state-owned gas company Bord Gais Eireann, narrowing the field to two suitors.

Bord Gais’s retail and power generation division “might not be the one to fit us as we have other priorities,” Fazlur Rahman Zainuddin, chief financial officer with state-owned Tenaga, said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur today. The remaining bids are from a group led by Viridian Group Ltd., backed by Macquarie Group Ltd., and from Centrica Plc, the U.K.’s largest power company, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Viridian-led offer is above a 1 billion-euro ($1.35 billion) reserve set by Bord Gais, while Centrica’s is below, said three people who asked not to be identified as the process is private. Ireland, which agreed to sell the asset under its international bailout in 2010, said last month the business will be sold before the end of the year.

The Bord Gais unit, which owns 15 percent of Ireland’s installed wind farms, had been expected to fetch as much as 1.4 billion euros, two people said on May 24. Officials from Bord Gais, Centrica, Viridian, Northern Ireland’s largest energy supplier, and Macquarie declined to comment on the process.

“I can’t see the government giving the business away for a bargain basement price, even if a sale is part of the bailout program,” said Alan McQuaid, an economist with Merrion Capital in Dublin.

Tenaga submitted a non-binding offer seeking to expand earnings and cut its reliance on regulated business in Malaysia, Fazlur said. Buying the company now appears “a little advanced” for the company, he said.

“Given the focus on new power plants and the experience we have in the regulated business here, we feel the focus should be in Malaysia,” he said.

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