2 August 2013
Terra Firma has reached an agreement to sell 100% of Carmel Capital II S.à.r.l., including its wholly owned subsidiary Phoenix Natural Gas Limited (Phoenix), to Hastings’ managed fund Utilities Trust of Australia (UTA) and The Royal Bank of Scotland Group Pension Fund (RBSGPF), for which Hastings manages an unlisted infrastructure mandate.
Phoenix is Northern Ireland’s largest natural gas distribution and energy services company. Phoenix Natural Gas owns and operates the Greater Belfast natural gas network and is responsible for making gas available to around half the population of Northern Ireland.
Guy Hands, Chairman of Terra Firma, said:
“We are delighted to realise our investment in Phoenix. The success of this investment highlights the expertise of Terra Firma in transforming asset-backed businesses in essential industries. Since we bought the company in 2005, Phoenix has doubled in size and has increased gas availability to 300,000 properties, of which some 165,000 have already connected to the network. Phoenix is well positioned for future growth, and we are confident that under Hastings’ ownership it will continue to thrive.”
Andrew Day, Hastings Chief Executive, said:
“The outlook for the use of natural gas as a clean and efficient fuel source in Northern Ireland is compelling. Phoenix continues to play an important role in bringing gas to consumers in the Greater Belfast area and we are excited to support this.”
He added: “The successful transaction is a direct result of Hastings’ global operating model and reflects our increased commitment to growing our capabilities in different regions for the benefit of our investors.”
Peter Dixon, Group Chief Executive, Phoenix Energy Holdings, said:
“Phoenix Natural Gas, our core business, is responsible for operating and extending our gas distribution network as well as developing and supporting the wider local natural gas industry in Northern Ireland. Over the past eight years, under Terra Firma’s ownership, Phoenix has invested over £100 million locally. The key ambition for Phoenix in the years ahead is to continue to grow significantly the distribution business, and attracting an investor such as Hastings into the local Northern Ireland economy will help us to meet this ambition.
“Hastings sees great opportunities for growth here in Northern Ireland and in particular was attracted by Phoenix’s ambitions to continue to increase gas availability in its existing licence area, as well as to target opportunities for growth in areas that are new to Phoenix.”