Background

  • firmus energy (Distribution) Limited (FED) 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 company is a natural monopoly and operates under an exclusive perpetual licence
  • Since the award of its licence in 2005, it has developed a pipeline network of over 1,350km with more than 40,000 customer connections
  • Additionally, FED owns Firmus Energy (Supply) Limited (FES), the market leading gas supply business in the FED licence area and number two gas supply business in Greater Belfast, with more than 86,000 customers
  • Following iCON Infrastructure's acquisition of the company in 2014, a sale process of firmus energy was launched in late 2018

Process

  • DC Advisory (DC) was engaged by Equitix to act as financial adviser to provide buy-side M&A and debt / hedging advice on the acquisition
  • DC has a strong knowledge of the gas distribution sector, having previously advised on various transactions in the sector in addition to advising iCON Infrastructure on their initial acquisition of firmus energy in 2014
  • DC provided comprehensive financial advisory services to Equitix throughout the acquisition process, including:
    • (i) process strategy and tactics;
    • (ii) due diligence coordination;
    • (iii) business plan review;
    • (iv) financial modelling and valuation;
    • (v) debt and hedging work streams;
    • (vi) support in negotiations with the seller; and
    • (vii) advice on transaction documentation, including SPA.

Outcome

  • DC ensured all work streams were successfully completed within a challenging timeframe over the holiday period, while maintaining an entirely confidential process
  • On 13 February 2019, Equitix completed the acquisition of a 100% equity stake in firmus energy from iCON Infrastructure
  • The transaction marks Equitix' first investment in the gas distribution sector
  • The acquisition price was not disclosed