Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bon Jour, EDF: British Energy Finds a Bidder

Well, maybe. The British Government solicited bids for its 35% shareedf of British Energy, which runs eight of the ten nuclear energy plants in the country. The last several weeks have seen stories about the Germans (E.ON) and Spanish (Iberdola - they now own Scottish Power) dropping by to kick the tires, and they might still submit bids, but it looks like Electricité de France (EDF), in concert with the British Centrica, has won the prize. This could be considered a disappointment for investors, as the stock has been rising in hopes of a bidding war.

So far, EDF is mum about how much it is bidding, but:

The Daily Telegraph said Friday that EDF and its advisers, Merrill Lynch, were putting together a deal worth between 9.2 billion pounds (11.7 billion euros, 18 billion dollars) and 10.2 billion pounds.

This story from Agence-France - there are many stories about this development out there - suggests that EDF is pushing into the UK market regardless of British Energy.

The Financial Times said the firm had acquired land near Wylfa on the island of Anglesey, north Wales, and Hinckley Point, in the county of Somerset, southwest England.

It said such "stealthy purchases" could allow EDF to build up to three new atomic power stations, regardless of whether it is successful in its bid for British Energy.

And all these aggressive moves have caused alarm for a French competitor, Suez.

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.

Seems crybabyish. We're not expert on French business practices, but perhaps Suez ought to just get out there and compete.


We may have jumped the gun a bit on this one - this is a story containing a fair number of hairpin turns - but we've wanted to get it on our gps devices for awhile and this particular turn in the road seems a good place to leave a marker.  As they say in TV Land, stay tuned.

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