Equitix to acquire all shares in the Northern Ireland gas network firmus energy from iCON Infrastructure
Equitix Investment Management Ltd (“Equitix”), a UK infrastructure manager, has reached an agreement with iCON Infrastructure (“iCON”) on the acquisition of the firmus energy regulated gas network in Northern Ireland. The acquisition is expected to complete in mid-February.
Established in 2005, firmus energy owns and operates a fast growing, modern, regulated natural gas distribution network in the major towns and cities outside of Greater Belfast in Northern Ireland. The network is a natural monopoly and operates under an exclusive perpetual licence subject to supervision and regulation by the Utility Regulator. As at December 2018, the network served approximately 43,000 domestic, industrial and commercial end customers through a network of 1,350km largely polyethylene pipelines. The network covers an area of 200 square kilometres extending across Northern Ireland. firmus energy also owns the largest gas supply business in the network licence area and the second largest gas supply business in Greater Belfast.
Hugh Crossley, Chief Investment Officer for Equitix, said: “As we continue to diversify and grow our portfolio, we are always looking out for attractive opportunities to acquire high-quality assets that meet our criteria. Gas distribution is a new sector for Equitix that meets these criteria and complements the other sectors we invest in well. We are confident that it will add value for our investors.”
“Equitix has demonstrated a strong track record in our ownership and management of a wide range of infrastructure assets and, as such, we’re pleased to be further consolidating our capabilities and adding this breadth and depth to our institutional investment portfolios.”
Michael Scott, Managing Director of firmus energy, said “firmus energy is one of Northern Ireland’s leading energy companies, with over 90,000 customers across our distribution and supply activities. Over the next 25 years, we plan to extend our gas network to make natural gas available throughout our licensed area, connecting a further 140,000 customers. iCON has been a very supportive partner over the past five years and we look forward to delivering continued growth and high quality customer service under Equitix’s ownership. This is good news for gas consumers and the Northern Ireland economy.”
iCON was advised on the sale by Macquarie Capital and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. DC Advisory and Allen & Overy were advisors for Equitix.