RWE and E.on prepare to sell UK nuclear project

Advisers approached but sales process could stretch into next year

German energy giants RWE and E.on have kicked off plans to sell their UK nuclear power plant joint venture. It is understood that they have asked a select number of corporate advisers, accountants and investment banks to come up with ideas of how they would sell Horizon Nuclear Power.

Requests for proposals were sent out just before the Easter break, a week after the German duo rocked government plans for a new wave of nuclear power plants by announcing they could no longer afford to participate in the programme.

This has led to speculation from nuclear's many critics that the coalition's energy policies are doomed to failure. However, it is believed that there are a number of overseas parties that are interested in at least taking a stake in Horizon, which is expected to fetch £250m.

The problem for whoever is asked to run the sale – and that appointment could be made as soon as this week – is that they will effectively have to develop a market for the business. Few energy or investment companies would be willing to risk developing Horizon's proposed stations in North Wales and South Gloucestershire on their own, as their construction could cost more than £15bn by the time the second opens in 2025.

An industry source said: "This is a seriously proper corporate sales mandate where [the selected adviser] will have to create the bidders. RWE and E.on are inviting parties to bid that can think clearly who the runners and riders might be and how you put them together into some disorderly gangs to bid for Horizon."

It is not clear which advisers have been approached, but it is thought that Rothschild and Nomura are probable candidates. At least one of the big four accountants are also believed to have been approached.

Because of the complicated nature of the business, which still has to choose the reactor designs it will use as well as the prospect of heated planning application battles, the sale process could stretch into 2013.

Unless the eventual winning venture can make up the time in improved programme management, this would mean that the first of Horizon's proposed stations, Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey, will start generating electricity in 2022 rather than 2021. Any delay will worry the Government because of the prospect of a widening gap between energy demand and supply.

This is not the only sales mandate at present attracting rainmakers.

Mining giant Rio Tinto is in talks with a number of investment banks over the possible auction of its $2bn (£1.26bn) diamond business.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator - IFA Based

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions