Arcapita agrees utility sale

Published: July 8, 2010

Deal allows Bahrain bank to refinance subsidiary.

Arcapita Bank, a Bahrain-based investment bank, has agreed to sell Northern Ireland Electricity plc (NIE) as part of its plan to refinance its Irish energy group Viridian.

The bank has struck a deal to sell the business to Irish utility ESB, which could bring in more than £1bn for Viridian, one of its subsidiaries.

Completion is expected by the end of the year and is subject to Irish and UK competition clearances and a refinancing of Viridian’s existing debt.

Under the terms of the deal, ESB will also acquire selected NIE subsidiaries, including NIE Powerteam and Powerteam Electrical Services (UK), electrical construction and maintenance services providers. It will also assume NIE’s obligations, including those under a £175mn eurobond.

“After a four year holding period, the transaction offers us an attractive way to realise value from within Viridian, stabilise the financial structure and focus on what we continue to believe are the excellent growth opportunities for our investors in the remaining business," says Atif A.Abdulmalik, Arcapita’s chief executive.