Wick district heating operator sold for £4m

Ignis supplies steam for the Pulteney Distillery in Wick
Ignis supplies steam for the Pulteney Distillery in Wick
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The operator of a district heating scheme in Caithness that supplies the Pulteney Distillery is changing hands in a deal worth at least £4 million.

Aim-quoted Ludgate Environmental Fund, which invests in “resource efficiency companies”, has agreed to sell Ignis Biomass to infrastructure investor and fund manager Equitix.

Ludgate said £2.4m will be payable on completion of the deal, with a deferred payment of £1.6m to follow depending on “the achievement of certain performance conditions”.

It added: “Additional payments may also be made up to 31 December 2016 against agreed contractual operating targets.”

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Ignis Biomass owns and operates the district heating scheme in Wick, having taken over the operation from the Highland Council in June 2012 and investing £2.5m to convert the system from burning oil to using locally sourced wood chip.

A 3.5 megawatt boiler supplies hot water to almost 200 domestic properties and the Wick Assembly Rooms – the largest public performance venue north of Inverness – via the district heating network. The boiler also supplies steam to the adjacent distillery, where Old Pulteney single malt Scotch is produced.

Ignis, a finalist in last month’s Scottish Green Energy Awards, said: “The district heating scheme makes a real contribution to helping alleviate fuel poverty in an area that has high heating costs, and makes a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”