Public takes two-thirds of power shares

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TWO-THIRDS of the shares in the pounds 360m sale of Northern Ireland Electricity have been allocated to the public - the largest percentage in any electricity privatisation so far, writes Mary Fagan. Dealings in the shares commence on Monday, although interim certificates will not be sent out until Thursday.

The public offer was 3.9 times subscribed, with 490,000 people applying in the public offer wanting 300 million shares, which triggered clawback from shares allocated to institutions.

Northern Ireland Electricity is the last and smallest of the companies in the sector to be sold off. The company distributes electricity throughout the province but no longer owns power stations, which were disposed of in trade sales last year.

The general public has been allocated 107 million shares and institutions 52 million. After clawback, the public offer was 2.7 times subscribed. The share price is 220p with the minimum investment pounds 220.

Of the company's customers who registered with the NIE Share Information Office, all are allocated shares but only 44 per cent get all they wanted. Applications from non-customers who registered for 300 shares or more have been heavily scaled back. No non-customers receive more than 260 shares and those applying for more than 1,000 receive none.