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On, Off, On, Off…

Posted in Nuclear,UK by Cheryl Morgan on the August 4th, 2008

The planned purchase of British Energy by EdF (and Centrica) collapsed at the last minute on Friday. Initial reports suggested that EdF had got cold feet and pulled out, but later it emerged that two major British Energy shareholders, Invesco and Prudential (M&G), who own around 22% of the company between them, had refused to accept EdF’s offer and demanded a higher price.

Quite what happens uncertain. EdF still insists that it wants to be a part of the “nuclear rebirth of Britain”, but is apparently unwilling to pay what BE’s shareholders think the company is worth. Centrica is mulling various options, including a merger, or a purchase in collaboration with an as-yet-unnamed third party. According to Reuters the UK government still prefers EdF as the buyer because of their “experience of new nuclear build,” and The Scotsman says that the government will “urge” EdF to renew talks. Quite what EdF could be offered as an inducement is unclear.

Then again, maybe tomorrow Gordon Brown will remember that he is supposed to be encouraging major investment in renewables.

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