Natural gas company firmus energy, a subsidiary of Bord Gáis Éireann, the Irish state-owned energy company as of 1 July 2014, has been sold to iCON Infrastructure, which has interests in other core infrastructure businesses including energy, railways, oil and ports.
Michael Scott, managing director of firmus energy, commented: “This is very positive news for our customers and employees and for the future of the firmus energy brand in Northern Ireland. iCON expressed an interest in acquiring firmus energy from the outset when the company first went up for sale in May 2013.
“We will continue to operate from our Antrim headquarters, where we employ around 90 people. With the on-going expansion of our natural gas network across the province, we will have an opportunity to knowledge share with other iCON owned companies across the world, gain first-hand experience of best practice in other countries and benchmark our company to an international standard.”
The sale of firmus energy forms part of the wider acquisition of Bord Gáis Energy by a consortium comprising iCON Infrastructure Partners II. L.P., Centrica plc and Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P.
Paul Malan, senior partner of iCON Infrastructure LLP, said: “firmus energy has been instrumental in making natural gas available to new customers in Northern Ireland for almost nine years. During this period, the team at firmus energy has built a dynamic and reliable gas utility business that emphasises efficiency and quality of service to its customers and provides stable career opportunities for its employees.
“We have already started to build relationships with the team in Northern Ireland and with key stakeholders and look forward to supporting the continued growth of the business and the energy industry in Northern Ireland.”
The firmus energy network now extends to around 900 km of pipe and the company supplies around 70,000 customers, of which over 20,000 are new customers in the network area outside greater Belfast.
Michael continued: “firmus energy has already invested more than £85 million in the network and we connect around 4,000 homes and businesses each year, double the number that was initially anticipated.”
iCON Infrastructure’s current portfolio includes Mountaineer Gas Company, the largest gas distribution network and supply company in West Virginia, USA, and Beckton Energy, the operating company for an environmentally friendly 19 MW combined heat and power generation plant under construction in London. iCON Infrastructure funds have also previously owned Sutton & East Surrey Water, a regulated water utility in the South of England.