Leading energy traders in the City were among dozens of investors that cashed out £35m from collapsed supplier Bulb Energy (Bulb), before it sank into de-facto nationalisation last winter.
Executives linked with gas trading divisions at EDF, Morgan Stanley and hedge fund Millenium scooped up millions through share sales in 2018, when the supplier raised more than £60m from new backers, according to The Sunday Times.
Other investors who have offloaded shares include former Number 10 adviser Rohan Silva.
Bulb collapsed last November, dropping into special administration, where it has been propped up by the taxpayer to the tune of £3bn over the past six months.
This is to ensure its 1.7m customers are not left without energy – with Bulb the country’s seventh biggest energy firm.
Bankers at US investment group Lazard are hunting for a buyer for the business, with Centrica and Masdar both putting forward non-binding bids last month, while other firms also remain interested in its customers.
The newspaper has also reported that Bulb’s chief executive and co-founder Hayden Wood, and his co-founder Amit Gudka sold shares worth more than £4m.
Wood also continues to be paid a £250,000 salary by the taxpayer, and remains in his leadership role during the company’s current crisis.
Founders and shareholders in technology companies often “cash in” by selling shares in a start-up when it raises money from new investors.
In 2018, loss-making Bulb announced £60 million of funding from DST Global and Magnetar in a deal that valued the company at more than £400m.
At the time, Wood posted a blog that said: “You may have seen press speculation from some misinformed quarters that we are ‘cashing in’ or ‘up for sale’. Rest assured, this is not the case.”
However, The Sunday Times has revealed more than 60 investors also sold shares in this fundraising round.
This includes Philip Sutterby, who has run energy trading at the hedge fund Millennium Management and commodities giant Mercuria Energy,.
He sold almost £10m of shares.
He is now a director and investor at the battery storage start-up Field, established by Gudka, a former Barclays energy trader.
Meanwhile, David Brookes, a former head of gas trading at EDF Trading, sold an estimated £1.7 million worth of shares, and Patrick Barouki, former head of gas trading and origination at Uniper, now at Morgan Stanley, sold shares worth an estimated £729,000.