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ElectricInvest says it will buy Viridian for 1.62 billion pounds

ElectricInvest says it will buy Viridian for 1.62 billion pounds

A division of Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank BSC said Friday it will buy Viridian Group PLC, Northern Ireland's main power supplier, for 1.62 billion pounds (US$3 billion; euro2.4 billion).
ElectricInvest Acquisitions Ltd. will pay 1,336 pence (euro19.81; US$25.16) a share, the company said in a statement. That represents a 23 percent premium to the share price on Oct. 4, the day before Viridian said an approach had been made.
Viridian is the third British utility to be subject to a takeover bid this week. Utilities are attracting investors such as 3i Group PLC as they offer predictable revenue growth and returns that have outpaced oil in the past two years.
"International investors are concerned about where the world's economic growth is coming from, so they're heading for utilities where there is a much more certain income stream," said Justin Urquhart-Stewart, a fund manager at 7 Investment Management in London. "You want assets that are always going to be in demand whatever the economic conditions are."
Shares in Viridian rose 7.9 percent to 1,317 pence (US$24.80; euro19.53) on the London Stock Exchange.
"ElectricInvest believes that the acquisition of Viridian represents an opportunity to achieve stable returns from both its regulated and non-regulated electricity businesses," the company said.
Viridian's board has approved the offer but it is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
The company grew out of the former state-owned electricity supplier in Northern Ireland, NIE, which was privatized in 1993. The company reported revenue of 976.8 million pounds (euro1.45 billion; US$1.84 billion) in the year through March 2006.
Earlier this week, AWG PLC, the water supplier to eastern England, agreed to be bought by a group led by Canadian and Australian investors for 2.21 billion pounds (US$4.16 billion; euro3.28 billion).
Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund and the Utilities Trust of Australia also said they agreed to buy South East Water Ltd. from Macquarie Bank Ltd. for 665 million pounds (euro984 million; US$1.25 billion).
Analysts say the deal could free Macquarie to bid for Thames Water PLC, the company that serves London and is currently owned by German-based RWE AG.


Updated : 2021-04-13 17:52 GMT+08:00