Innogy buys Independent Energy customer base for £10m

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The Independent Online

Innogy, the soon-to-be demerged UK arm of National Power, yesterday paid £10m for the customer base and supply assets of Independent Energy, the gas and electricity supplier which collapsed last week.

Innogy, the soon-to-be demerged UK arm of National Power, yesterday paid £10m for the customer base and supply assets of Independent Energy, the gas and electricity supplier which collapsed last week.

As part of the deal, Innogy will attempt to collect the £119m in unpaid bills that led to Independent Energy's downfall, receiving a set percentage from the receivers, KPMG, on any sums recovered.

Innogy said, however, that under yesterday's arrangement it would not be legally liable for any of Independent's debts, which total at least £165m. Ross Sayers, Innogy executive chairman, said: "We will do our best to collect those debts. It is a large customer base, so it will take time."

It is understood that Innogy will receive 10 per cent of any recovered debts up to a ceiling of £75m, after which the ratio will be adjusted. Any returned funds will go first to secured creditors, rather than shareholders. Mr Sayers said that if Innogy were to prove effective in recovering Independent's unpaid bills, the deal for its customer base could end up paying for itself.

Independent Energy called in the receivers after its bankers withdrew financial support amid a rising tide of uncollected bills. Innogy said it had taken on 174 Independent staff and secured contracts for about 240,000 of its electricity customers and 80,000 domestic gas customers. Ofgem, the energy regulator, said the deal valued each customer at around £32.

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