GAS supply company firmus energy has been sold for a second time in less than five years.
It has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by UK infrastructure manager Equitix from its current owner iCON Infrastructure.
Deka Energy, a subsidiary of iCON and which is registered in Jersey, bought Antrim-based firmus in June 2014 for £78.4 million.
Firmus, established in 2005, operates a regulated natural gas distribution network in a number of major towns and cities outside greater Belfast, and boasts 43,000 domestic, industrial and commercial end customers.
Its managing director Michael Scott 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.”
Hugh Crossley, chief investment officer for London-based 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.”
Firmus energy employs more than 100 staff, and its last set of account revealed that it made a pre-tax profit of close to £11 million.