PowerGen puts pounds 1bn price tag on two stations

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The Independent Online
POWERGEN PUT two of its coal-fired power stations up for sale yesterday in order to avoid having its acquisition of East Midlands Electricity referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC).

The stations are likely to fetch around pounds 1bn in total, say analysts. Their sale will form part of PowerGen's undertakings to the Trade and Industry Secretary, Peter Mandelson, in connection with the purchase.

The stations are Ferrybridge C at Knottingley, West Yorkshire, and Fiddler's Ferry at Warrington, Cheshire. The first employs around 200 people, the second around 230. Redundancies are unlikely in a sale, according to analysts.

PowerGen has received about a dozen expressions of interest. Likely bidders include Centrica and British Energy, which wants more capacity. Others include US companies such as Duke Power, Southern (owner of SWEB), and Enron. Mission Energy, which bought pumped storage stations from the National Grid, may also bid. The sales are expected to take six months to complete.

Mr Mandelson said in September he would not refer PowerGen's acquisition of East Midlands to the MMC subject to undertakings including the disposal of 4,000 megawatts of coal-fired plant.

PowerGen is still in talks with the Environment Agency over emission issues arising from the sale.

t British Energy insists it is still in the race for London Electricity, despite reports that state-owned Electricite de France has won with a pounds 2bn bid.

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