ELECTRICITY COMPANIES WOULD BE MAD to go ahead with their £7 billion-plus takeover of British Energy, according to two leading industry authorities. With the preliminary bidding deadline for the goverment’s 35% stake in the East Kilbride-based nuclear power company having passed on Friday, Professor Steve Thomas of Greenwich Business School in London told the Sunday Herald that it was being made to look more attractive by high electricity prices. He believed that the bidders were in danger of buying at the top of the market. He said: “The prices are insane. It’s based on an assumption that fossil fuel prices will stay high forever, but there could be a collapse in prices in a surprisingly short time. Mycle Schneider of Paris-based energy consultancy Mycle Schneider Consulting, said that another issue was that the UK’s advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) are unlike any other nuclear reactors in the world. In his view this means that none of the potential bidders fully understand what they are bidding for.
Sunday Herald 11th May 2008 more >>
British Energy will not announce the results of its search for a buyer until at least next month, despite Friday’s bid deadline. A source close to the sale, which was triggered by the Government’s decision to dispose of its 35.2 per cent stake, said that the deadline was “soft”. EDF, the French energy giant, was the only group to bid on time, but British Energy will accept late offers. RWE and Suez are among those still mulling a bid, while British giant Centrica is hoping to join a consortium, perhaps even tying up with EDF at a later stage.
Independent on Sunday 11th May 2008 more >>
The £9bn battle for control of British Energy, the company which holds the key to Britain’s future nuclear industry, is taking the rivalry between two of France’s largest utilities across the English Channel. Suez is concerned that a successful offer for British Energy by Electricite de France (EdF) could undermine any future chance to enter the British nuclear power generation sector. Suez has begun intensive lobbying of the Government and the board of British Energy to ensure EdF would not be able to stop other operators building nuclear power stations in the UK. Sources close to Suez say most of the potential sites suitable for building nuclear stations adjoin existing British Energy sites.
Sunday Telegraph 11th May 2008 more >>
Record numbers of consumers, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable – pensioners, for example – are feeling the pinch. If suppliers go ahead with another round of price hikes this year, Energywatch is warning that 5.5 million households – more than one in five – will be living in ‘fuel poverty’. Such households are defined as those spending more than 10 per cent of their income on utility bills.
Observer 11th May 2008 more >>
An American diplomat left North Korea today with boxes of documents containing details of two decades of Pyongyang’s nuclear secrets.
Times 10th May 2008 more >>
Telegraph 10th May 2008 more >>