Norweb sounded out by `several companies'


Industrial Correspondent

Norweb, the latest regional electricity company at the centre of takeover speculation, said yesterday that it had received approaches from several companies in recent weeks "as part of the process of deciding if they wish to acquire an interest in the electricity sector".

The company also said that it would be "no surprise" if the contacts increased in the light of the clearance last week of bids for Manweb, South Western Electricity and Eastern Electricity by Ian Lang, President of the Board of Trade. Norweb's shares rose 37p to 933p.

Norweb said that the approaches had been "tentative", and that it believed other regional firms to be in a similar position. The company, whose financial advisers are NatWest Markets, denied that specific proposals had been put to the board.

It also emerged yesterday that the Oregon-based Pacific Corporation had been keenly looking at the sector. One industry source said that Pacific had been a potential "white knight" for Sweb before it agreed to a pounds 1.1bn takeover by Southern Electric International of the US.

Pacific, which has an estimated capitalisation of pounds 3bn, is thought to be preparing to swoop on an alternative target. Another rumoured predator is Western Resources, a US utility with operations in Kansas and in Oklahoma.

Although City analysts have focused much recent attention on Houston Industries - once tipped as a predator for London Electricity - it appears to be attempting to back out of the limelight. Other potential bidders for electricity companies include Pacific Gas & Electric of San Fransisco and New Orleans-based Entergy.

While speculation continues over the next electricity company to fall to a bid, Manweb continues to prepare for the final stages in the battle against Scottish Power. The Scottish group, the only predator whose bid remains hostile, said that its shareholders approved the proposed pounds 1bn takeover at an extraordinary general meeting yesterday.

Manweb has promised a profit and dividend forecast by the end of next week and is also expected to announce a package of "sweeteners" for shareholders to persuade them to reject the bid.

Manweb yesterday denied suggestions that it was now seeking a white knight following the surprise decision by the Government not to refer Scottish Power's offer to the Monopolies and Mergers Com- mission. The shares rose by 6p to pounds 9.84 compared with the cash offer of pounds 9.15.

Separately, Yorkshire Electricity announced that SBC Warburg had reduced its stake to 3.99 per cent from about 5 per cent. SBC has had a significant stake in Yorkshire for about a year and at one point owned about 8 per cent.

voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn