DCC Energy agrees to acquire natural gas retail and marketing business in France
DCC plc, the international sales, marketing, distribution and business support services group, announces that DCC Energy has agreed to acquire Gaz Européen Holdings SAS, a natural gas retail and marketing business which supplies business and public sector customers in France. The acquisition is highly complementary to Butagaz's strong market position in liquefied petroleum gas ("LPG") in France. The acquisition is conditional, inter alia, on competition clearance from the French Competition Authority and is expected to complete in the first calendar quarter of 2017.
Gaz Européen was founded in 2005, when the French natural gas market was first deregulated and opened to competition. The company is a specialist retailer of natural gas and focuses on supplying energy management companies, apartment blocks (with collective heating systems), public authorities and the service sector in France. In its financial year ended 31 December 2015, the company supplied c. 5.1 TWh of natural gas (equivalent to approximately 390,000 tonnes of LPG) and currently supplies c. 10,000 sites. The company is headquartered in Paris and employs 31 staff; it has an experienced and ambitious management team with a track record of delivering strong growth.
In its financial year ended 31 December 2015, Gaz Européen generated revenue of €205 million (£178 million) and normalised operating profit of €15.7 million (£13.7 million).
DCC Energy has, for some time, been developing its presence in natural gas organically in selected geographies and it believes that there is a significant opportunity to leverage its sales and marketing expertise, customer reach and brand recognition in the LPG and oil distribution markets into complementary adjacencies, including the natural gas sector. Gaz Européen will be DCC Energy's first major acquisition in natural gas and will complement Butagaz's leading position in LPG. One of the key strengths identified during the acquisition of Butagaz was its brand recognition amongst French gas consumers generally. The combination of Butagaz's marketing and brand strength and Gaz Européen's expertise in the natural gas market will provide an excellent platform for growth in the French natural gas market.
DCC has agreed to acquire 97% of the share capital of Gaz Européen on completion, based on an initial enterprise value of €110 million (£96 million). The remaining shares, which are held by members of Gaz Européen's management team, will be acquired based on Gaz Européen's results for the three years ending 31 March 2021, 2022 and 2023. All of the consideration will be satisfied in cash.
Tommy Breen, Chief Executive of DCC plc, said today:
"The announcement today of our agreement to acquire Gaz Européen in France marks DCC's first substantial acquisition in the natural gas sector and a major development for the Butagaz LPG business acquired during 2015. In recent years DCC has developed a presence in natural gas organically in selected geographies, as natural gas markets have been deregulated. The acquisition of Gaz Européen will significantly accelerate our development in this area in France."