LONDON Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank has hired JPMorgan (JPM.N) to lead a share listing for Irish energy firm Viridian Group, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, in a deal that one said could give the firm a value, including debt, of nearly 1 billion pounds ($1.7 billion).
Belfast-based Viridian emerged as a holding company in 1998, after the 1993 privatization of Northern Ireland Electricity. It now operates through its Energia and Power NI businesses and owns two gas-fired generation plants at Huntstown, north of Dublin.
Viridian, which has been owned by Arcapita Bank since 2006, reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 99 million pounds in the year to the end of March on 1.6 billion pounds of revenue. Net debt stood at 582.7 million pounds.
According to Thomson Reuters data shares in UK industry peers SS&E (SSE.L), Centrica (CNA.L), Drax (DRX.L), United Utilities (UU.L), Severn Trent (SVT.L) and National Grid (NG.L) on average are currently trading on an enterprise value (EV) to prospective EBITDA multiple of 10.3.
No one at Arcapita Bank was immediately available and officials at Viridian and JPMorgan declined to comment on Thursday.
On Friday an official at Viridian said: "We regularly work with a range of banks, including JPM, to assist with financing and strategic options."
"We have made no decision to proceed with an IPO and JPMorgan have not been appointed as a global co-ordinator."
The initial public offering (IPO) is expected to be launched before the end of the year with the listing likely to be in London, the sources said.
JPMorgan has been hired as global co-ordinator and will be looking to add further banks to the deal, they said.
(Editing by Greg Mahlich and David Evans)