GDF SUEZ, the French energy giant, is to acquire Sussex-based Utilicom Group in a deal it hopes will deliver €1.5bn (£1.2bn) in sales over the next four years.
The move is expected to create the UK’s largest district energy company and will see the birth of Cofely District Energy, which will form a part of Cofely’s existing UK Energy business, already owned by GDF.
As part of the deal, GDF will have access to a number of district energy contracts, including a heating and cooling network and power stations for the London 2012 Olympic Park and the Stratford City development zone, both of which are expected to see a reduction in carbon emissions.
GDF chairman Wilfrid Petrie said: “District energy schemes are already making a significant contribution to reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and this is an area that is set to grow rapidly in the coming years.
He added: “It will also pave the way for Cofely’s further expansion into this rapidly developing sector of the market where across Europe the Group already operates in excess of 110 district energy schemes.”
Cofely District Energy is expected to generate 35 megawatts (MW) of low carbon electricity, operate a 250 MW of boiler plant, 74MW of chilled capacity and manage 50km of district heating and cooling pipework.