Southern might buy power plants from generators

SOUTHERN Electricity, the country's sole remaining independent electricity supplier, yesterday made clear it would be an enthusiastic buyer of any power plants that National Power or PowerGen might be forced to sell.

The chance for Southern to turn itself into a small but significant vertically integrated company comes after speculation the Government will demand the power generators dispose of 20 per cent of their plant.

Jim Forbes, chief executive, said Southern would not rule out buying other electricity suppliers, generators or water companies but insisted the company could prosper on its own.

A share buyback scheme is also still possible although this is unlikely before July next year.

Southern unveiled full-year pre-tax profits at pounds 248.7m, down from pounds 255.5m, but above analysts' expectations.