UK private equity firm Terra Firma is close to signing a deal to exit Northern Irish natural gas company Phoenix Energy Holdings Group to infrastructure investor Hastings Funds Management for as much as £700m, Bloomberg has reported.
Phoenix owns and operates the gas distribution network in the Greater Belfast area in Northern Ireland. The company was one of three companies within East Surrey Holdings, a public ‘multi-utility’ which Terra Firma acquired for €532m in 2005.
In January it was reported that Terra Firma founder Guy Hands was planning to return €3bn to investors through exits in the next 12 to 18 months, ahead of plans to raise two new funds.
The sales will help return cash to Terra Firma’s investors as it looks to raise a new fund, the firm’s first since losing control of its stake in music publishing giant EMI to Citigroup in 2011. The firm is also currently seeking exits for gas distributor Phoenix Natural Gas and property group Deutsche Annington.
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