British Energy eyes US sale

Sunday Telegraph (London)
September 1, 2002

By Mary Fagan

British Energy is considering the sale of all or part of its North American operations, which are thought to be worth between £1 billion and £1.5 billion.

The proceeds would help shore up the nuclear generator’s finances as it struggles to cope with depressed wholesale power prices in the UK.

British Energy’s board has also discussed splitting the group into two separately listed companies on either side of the Atlantic but concluded that the UK business would not be viable on its own.

The most likely sale would be that of British Energy’s 50 per cent in AmerGen, its joint venture in the US, which owns three nuclear power plants. However, the group also owns Bruce Power in Ontario, Canada, regarded as one of the jewels in its crown.

British Energy is in talks with state-owned British Nuclear Fuels to take over the running of some of its ageing Magnox reactors in return for a management fee. The company has also been lobbying for exemption from the climate change levy.

Separately, British Energy is expected to announce within the next few weeks that Robin Jeffrey, chairman and chief executive, is soon to split the role. Keith Lough, the finance director, is among the front runners for the job.

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