National Grid Company plans pounds 300m debt buyback

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The Independent Online
NATIONAL Grid Company, which transmits electricity throughout England and Wales, is to buy back two pounds 150m tranches of government debt injected when the industry was privatised.

NGC, owned by the 12 regional electricity companies, said the total bill would come to pounds 333.3m. A charge of pounds 33.3m in relation to the redemption will be charged to the profit and loss account in the current financial year.

The company said the deal would be financed through cash and short-term borrowings. It would not comment on speculation that it would save pounds 5m on interest charges this year and about pounds 8m in subsequent years.

NGC, which hopes to be floated on the stock market, made a pre- tax profit last year of pounds 579.5m, up from pounds 533.2m the previous year.

The regional companies, which differ on how much of NGC should be floated, have appointed Kleinwort Benson to advise on its sale potential. The company is thought to be worth at least pounds 4bn.