Private trader in electricity bid

THE Marc Rich organisation, one of the world's largest traders of metals, minerals and oils, has applied for a licence to supply electricity in the UK. Offer, the industry watchdog, said that the application was the first from a foreign group and also the first from any potential supplier to be received for a year.

The Switzerland-based Marc Rich group is privately owned and little is known about its finances. It is believed to have a turnover of around dollars 30bn and to be worth in excess of dollars 1bn. The chairman, Marc Rich, is one of the wealthiest commodities traders in the world.

The group is expected to target large UK industrial and commercial electricity customers - those using more than one megawatt. It is believed to have plans to market electricity throughout England and Wales, in competition with the 12 regional electricity companies. Under the rules governing the electricity industry, potential electricity suppliers must submit applications to Offer and must advertise their intention to enter the market to give others a chance to comment.

A spokesman for Offer said: 'As far as we are aware it is a straightforward application.' He could not comment on where the organisation would source its electricity supplies.

The March Rich organisation, which has offices in Wigmore Street in London, did not comment on its plans.