A consortium led by Macquarie Asset Management has signed a deal with National Grid to take on a further 20% of National Gas in a move that is leaving “alarm bells ringing” at GMB Union.
The deal takes the consortium’s ownership of National Gas to 80% which is on equivalent financial terms to the original 60 per cent acquisition, which was completed in January 2023.
The energy union has said the Australian firm, Macquarie, has a “stranglehold” on gas transmission following the deal.
Despite the “alarm bells ringing” at GMB, Martin Bradley, European head of infrastructure for Macquarie Asset Management, said: “This additional investment underlines our commitment to National Gas and the critical role it plays in the UK’s energy system.”
Mr Bradley adds that the consortium looks to “acquire the Remaining Interest in due course.”
The Consortium has now entered into a new option agreement with National Grid for the potential acquisition of the remaining 20% of shares in National Gas and has the option, exercisable between 1 May 2024 and 31 July 2024, to acquire all or part of the Remaining Interest.
Gary Carter, GMB national officer, said: “Macquarie’s stranglehold on gas transmission and distribution should send alarm bells ringing.
“Leaving the nation’s gas assets in the hands of Australian-owned private equity is disastrous for energy security, consumers or employees
However, Mr Bradley says: “This additional investment underlines our commitment to National Gas and the critical role it plays in the UK’s energy system.
“We have been working closely with the National Gas team since January as they have continued to meet the energy needs of millions of households and businesses.
National Gas operates the UK’s 7,600-kilometre national transmission system, transporting the gas needed to heat homes and power industry and electricity generation.
National Gas also provides maintenance and management services for over 7 million domestic, industrial and commercial gas meters across the UK.
The union national officer also addresses concerns with previous ventures Macquarie has had in the UK.
Mr Carter commented: “Macquarie left Thames Water with massive debts that brought it to the edge of collapse.
He added: “The UK’s energy and water companies are not safe under the stewardship of private equity which only sees the UK’s assets as a cash cow for foreign shareholders.”