Centrica-Led Group to Pay $1.5 Billion for Bord Gais Energy

Centrica Plc, the biggest energy supplier to U.K. households, is leading a group that agreed to pay 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for Bord Gais Energy from Ireland’s state-owned energy company.

Centrica will acquire Bord Gais Eireann’s gas and electricity supply business in Ireland and the Whitegate gas-fired power station, together valued at 210 million euros including working capital and a contingent payment based on future performance, according to a statement from the Windsor, U.K.-based company. Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, part of the group, will buy Bord Gais Eireann’s renewable generation assets and iCON Infrastructure Partners II, LP the energy supply and distribution assets.

The acquisition gives Centrica and its partners access to the biggest dual-fuel supply business in Ireland, including about 650,000 residential gas and electricity accounts, and adds to its purchase of shale assets in northern England’s Bowland basin and stakes in gas fields from Canada’s Suncor Energy Inc. for C$1 billion ($893 million) last year. In March 2013, Centrica signed a 20-year contract with Cheniere Energy Inc. to export natural gas from the U.S.

“This is a unique opportunity for Centrica to take a first step in a neighboring market with strong links to the U.K.,” Chief Executive Officer Sam Laidlaw said in the statement. The company plans to put “households and businesses in control of their energy use, to reduce their bills and their carbon emissions,” he said.

Shares Gain

Centrica gained as much as 0.8 percent to 334 pence and traded at 333.70 pence as of 8:29 a.m. in London, giving it a market value of $27.9 billion. The company had 728 million pounds of cash and equivalents and 6 billion pounds in debt as of Dec. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Centrica was involved in at least 10 deals last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It sold three gas-based power stations in Texas to Blackstone Group LP for $685 million in a deal announced in December.

Dong Energy A/S, the world’s biggest offshore-wind developer, agreed to buy Centrica’s Race Bank project off England’s eastern coast for 50 million pounds, according to a December statement. Grupa Lotos SA, Poland’s second-biggest refiner, said in November it would buy Centrica’s oil and gas exploration assets in the Norwegian part of the North Sea for $175.8 million.

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