Dutch municipally owned utility Delta is to own 70% of the Netherlands' Borssele nuclear power plant after reaching an agreement over plant ownership with RWE Group of Germany. RWE will own 30%.
Legal wranglings over ownership of the Netherland's only operating nuclear power plant have been rumbling on since RWE
|Borssele (Image: EPZ)
announced an offer to buy Dutch utility Essent in January 2010. Essent owned 50% of the 485 MWe plant, together with Delta, through the EPZ joint venture. However, Delta took legal steps to prevent the sale of Essent's share in the Borssele reactor to RWE, arguing that the plant should remain in public ownership, in line with EPZ's articles of association and shareholders' agreement.
Dutch courts duly upheld Delta's view, and ruled in July 2009 that Essent's shares in EPZ must remain in public hands. As a consequence, Essent's 50% stake in Borssele was excluded from the buyout, and the transaction price accordingly dropped by €950 million ($1.35 billion).
Now, according to a statement by Delta, the two companies have reached an agreement that will see Delta remain the majority shareholder, thereby protecting the public interest in the plant. Final agreements on the deal are due to be signed by the end of the year.
According to Dutch financial newspaper Financieele Dagblad
, Delta will pay €137 million ($194 million) to Essent's former shareholders for its increased holding, while RWE will pay €609 million ($863 million) for its 30% share. Essent's former shareholders are therefore set to realise €746 million ($1.06 billion) for their interest in the plant.
Although Borssele provides only around 4% of the Netherlands' electricity, two separate applications have been filed to build a new nuclear power plant at the site. Delta formally launched the application process for a new unit at the Zeeland site in June 2009, envisaging the start of construction in 2013 and operation in 2018. Energy Resources Holding (ERH), the company made up of the municipal former shareholders of Essent, launched a similar process in September 2010. At the time, it was suggested that ERH might be willing to sell RWE an interest in the plant at a future date and RWE's 30% ownership will now give the German company a toehold in the Dutch nuclear power sector. Researched and written
by World Nuclear News