Bord Gáis Energy is to be sold to Centrica - the company behind British Gas – and two other companies for €1.12 billion.

Centrica, Brookfield Renewable Power and iCON Infrastructure have been chosen as preferred bidders to buy Bord Gáis' retail operations, a power station and some wind farms. 

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte has said the original three bidders for Bord Gáis had come back.

A preferred offer has been selected and a move to complete the contracts will be made in early January.

Speaking On RTÉ's Six One News, Minister Rabbitte said that as a result the Government has secured €120m more on the sale value.

He said the sale represented a vote of confidence in the Irish economy.

Minister Rabbitte said that as a result of the experience with Eircom, the gas network would be retained in State ownership and the energy and customer business of Bord Gáis is what is being sold.

He said it is understood that existing workers would retain their jobs with existing pay and pension entitlements.

The minister said money from the sale would go into job creation.

He said more than 50% of the sale of the State asset will go to create jobs and some to write down debt.

The deal is expected to conclude in the first half of next year.

Late last month the Government postponed the sale of Bord Gáis Energy after it said the bids it received failed to reach “an acceptable value”.

A price tag of around €1.5 billion had been placed on the utility company at first.

However, bids placed at that stage were understood to be closer to the €1 billion mark.