Centrica acquires Dutch energy supplier

Centrica plc today announced that it has agreed to acquire Oxxio BV (Oxxio), a Dutch energy supplier, for a price not exceeding €137 million (£93 million) including an earn-out mechanism within the transaction based on future performance of the company.

Oxxio supplies energy to residential and small business customers across the Netherlands and currently has around 400,000 electricity and 140,000 gas accounts, and, following full market liberalisation in July 2004, is now acquiring around 20,000 energy accounts per month.

The company, which employs 95 full-time equivalent employees, operates a low cost, technology based, business model which combines the internal management of key elements, such as marketing and procurement, with the outsourcing of more routine billing and sales activities.

The Benelux region is leading the way in terms of delivering deregulation in Continental Europe and this acquisition gives Centrica a material position as the fourth largest supplier in the Netherlands in terms of electricity accounts. The acquisition provides Centrica with a growth platform and an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the competitive and regulatory environment in the deregulating Dutch market prior to the expected unbundling of the incumbents by 2008.

For the year ended 31 December 2004 Oxxio reported revenues of €177 million (£120 million), EBITDA of €7.2 million (£4.9 million) and EBITA of €6.9 million (£4.7 million).

Sir Roy Gardner, Chief Executive of Centrica, said: “Becoming a significant player in the Netherlands marks another step in the development of Centrica’s European strategy, and is further evidence of our commitment to strengthen our position on the Continent.

“Entering the Dutch market at this formative stage, when there is a commitment from the Government to require incumbent energy companies to unbundle their supply businesses, offers an opportunity to grow the Oxxio business whilst also monitoring opportunities for further acquisitions in the Benelux region.”