Hanson making power play

Hanson, the industrial conglomerate, will emerge as one of the United Kingdom's largest electricity generators if it succeeds in its bid to buy three power plants from National Power, writes Mary Fagan.

The group, which is entering the electricity supply and distribution market through the acquisition of Eastern Electricity, has already agreed to pay pounds 400m to lease two generating stations from PowerGen.

Industry analysts estimate that Hanson could have 12 per cent of the market in England and Wales within a few years, compared with a projected 16 or 17 per cent for PowerGen.

National Power's share is expected to drop to about 23 per cent or less, from 34 per cent last year.

The nuclear power industry, part of which is soon to be privatised as British Energy, could take the lead with about 25 per cent.

National Power said yesterday that Eastern, along with Enron and Applied Energy Services of the United States, are being invited to submit final bids for the pounds 1bn sale of the plants at West Burton in Nottinghamshire, Ironbridge in Shropshire and Rugeley in Staffordshire.

The company said it is willing to sell these plants singly, but that all the contenders have shown interest in acquiring all three.

The power stations have a combined capacity of 4,000 megawatts - about 20 per cent of National Power's total capacity.

But they make up more than one-quarter of the company's output as they run for 60 to 70 per cent of the time, while some power stations run only when needed to meet peak demand.

Both National Power and PowerGen have been under pressure from the electricity industry's regulator, Professor Stephen Littlechild, to dispose of plant in order to increase competition in the generating market.

Professor Littlechild had given both companies until the end of this year to help them meet his concerns, or risk being referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

National Power said most of the payment of pounds 1bn or more would be split between a large initial consideration with more later related to sales of electricity from the plants.

The disposal is expected to be agreed by the end of December.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'