Future bright for Airtricity as it acquires ESB lighting business

16th October 2009: Energy company Airtricity, through its parent company Scottish and Southern Energy plc (SSE), has entered into an agreement to acquire the assets of ESB Contracts Limited (ESBC), the street lighting business of ESB, for a total cash consideration of €6.4m. The acquisition includes ESBC assets including vehicles and stock. The acquisition is due to complete on 30th November, 2009.

The business will be known as Airtricity Utility Solutions and will employ over 100 people, including people who currently work with ESBC. Airtricity Utility Solutions will be responsible for the maintenance of around 300,000 street lights on behalf of almost 90 local authorities in the Republic of Ireland.

SSE and ESB will also enter into an agreement under which ESB will provide transitional services to ensure continuity of service.  These relate to issues such as IT systems, property and vehicle servicing. Following the acquisition, ESBC employees will have the option to transfer to the new company. A period of consultation with employees will take place over the coming weeks.

Airtricity Utility Solutions is now positioned to become Ireland’s leading street lighting contractor. The company is committed to delivering a quality and value for money service to Ireland’s local authorities and the communities that they serve, and to ensuring that these contracts are managed to the highest possible service, safety and excellence standards. The acquisition builds upon the Airtricity’s renewable generation and energy supply portfolio, and marks the further extension of parent company SSE’s footprint in the Republic of Ireland market.

SSE is the leading street lighting contractor in Great Britain, covering over one million lighting columns, and employing over 800 people.  It continues to invest in the latest advancements in street lighting management systems, using the latest technologies which promote energy efficiency, reductions in carbon and remote monitoring.

Airtricity already supplies electricity to over 100,000 customer accounts in the island of Ireland’s Single Electricity Market.  It also owns and operates 318MW (megawatts) of wind farm capacity in the Republic of Ireland and 84MW in Northern Ireland.

This announcement follows the earlier announcement this week that Airtricity’s renewable energy development division, which is headquartered in Dublin and operates in 17 locations across Ireland, Great Britain and Europe, is to be renamed SSE Renewables with effect from 1st January 2010.

Airtricity’s energy supply and renewables development businesses became part of SSE in February 2008 when the Perth, Scotland-based company acquired the Irish business. Following this acquisition, Airtricity will employ 400 people in the Republic of Ireland.

Ian Marchant, Chief Executive of SSE, said: “It is just two years since we set out our goal to extend SSE’s activities beyond the Great Britain market and into Ireland and the acquisition of this street lighting business adds to the step-by-step progress we have already made in electricity generation and energy supply through Airtricity. The key task now is to make sure that the street lighting service we deliver to local authorities and the communities they serve continues to be of the highest possible standard.”