Ireland Strategic Investment Fund stalls on Viridian bid

Retreat from deal believed to be linked to stalemate over next government

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund is believed to have stepped back from its involvement in a consortium bidding for Viridian, the Belfast-based energy provider.

It is understood that its decision to pull back from the bidding process is the result of a failure by the Dáil this month to elect a new Government.

The outgoing Fine Gael-Labour Party administration is currently acting in an interim capacity and has decided that no policy decisions will be taken in advance of a new Government being formed.

Energy supply and regulation is a key area of public policy for the Government, which owns gas and electricity provider ESB, while the gas network is also in State hands.


State-owned ISIF had been part of a consortium with Goldman Sachs and another party in a bid for Viridian, which is expected to fetch up to €1 billion for its owners, Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank.


Viridian is a leading independent energy company in the all-Ireland market with two main brands,


in the Republic and Power NI north of the border.

In addition, it operates two power plants at Huntstown in north Dublin and has invested in wind farms in the Republic. It is not clear if Goldman Sachs and the other party have proceeded with their bid or have withdrawn from the process.

In response to a query from The Irish Times, a spokesman for ISIF said: "The Strategic Investment Fund's policy is that we do not comment on any transaction discussions that may or may not be in progress. The fund provides regular updates on its investments and is committed to publishing details of these investments at the appropriate time."

Set up in 2014, ISIF was a successor to the National Pensions Reserve Fund, with €7.6 billion available at inception to invest. Its mandate is to invest on a commercial basis to support economic activity and employment in the State.

By December 2015, ISIF had committed €2 billion to investments in Ireland. The fund was close to completing on six additional investments with a value of €200 million, and was “actively working” on 44, with a value of €1.4 billion.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times