BE buyout going through

08 December 2008

British Energy (BE) shareholders widely accepted Electricité de France's (EdF's) takeover offer by the deadline of 5 December.


EdF now holds, or has been promised in line with its offer, about 88% of BE's total share capital after shareholder acceptance of its September offer by this deadline.


The firm's subsidiary, Lake Acquisitions, has received acceptances for 62% of BE's ordinary shares, on top of about 26% it already owns. That share would further rise to over 92% of BE's enlarged share capital once all the deal's conditions are fulfilled and the UK government can accept the offer through the Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF).


Competition rules


An announcement on
2 December explained
progress in the European
Commission's merger
considerations on the deal.
EdF has made 'certain
commitments' to the
commission, which it is
keeping confidential, and
which are under consideration
as part of Phase I of the
review period, due to expire
on 22 December.

The statement said that the
commitments might be
'market tested' by the EC
"with certain competitors
and customers of EdF."

At the time the takeover deal was announced, the British government said the boost to the NLF, plus other holdings in BE, would total some £8 billion ($11.8 billion) - which should "more than cover the current estimated costs of decommissioning liabilities of BE's existing nuclear power stations."


An arrangement exists between EdF and Centrica whereby 25% of British Energy would be passed on for the same 774 pence per share price as the original purchase.


EdF's initial plan is to build four Areva EPR nuclear power units in the UK, at Sizewell and Hinkley Point, totalling 6400 MWe in new nuclear capacity. By 2023, only one of BE's existing nuclear power reactors would still in operation, Sizewell B, giving a total nuclear capacity in that decade of 7600 MWe. BE also owns a coal-fired power plant at Eggborough which generates 1960 MWe. 


A term of Centrica's deal with EdF is that it would have the right to 25% of BE's total capacity: about 2400 MWe.

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