Time to vote on behalf of future generations

Pathfinder prospectus fails to ease fears of regulatory interference as deadline looms
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The Independent Online
Power sale

Next Tuesday is the deadline for registering in advance for the Government's sale of its remaining 40 per cent stake in National Power and PowerGen.

While the two electricity generators promised generous dividends in the pathfinder prospectus published this week, they failed to reassure potential investors worried by the threat of a reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

National Power predicts a final net dividend of 11.1p implying a yield of 6.53 per cent on the partly-paid offer price of 170p. The PowerGen yield works out at 5.4 per cent. But that does not take account of the company's share buy-in.

The downside is the capital risk attached to a possible run-in with the industry regulator over breaches of price agreements and the uncertainty surrounding a future Labour government. There is also talk of competition from a third generator coming into the market.

However, unless you are already convinced the offer is not for you then you should still register, even if you are an existing shareholder, with one of the 130 share shops handling the sale.

Which you choose will depend largely on whether you feel more comfortable dealing through the broking arms of the large banks and building societies or independent stockbrokers. And, whether you fancy a free ride on the "world's tallest and fastest roller-coaster" on Blackpool beach.

Since there is no charge for buying the shares (the share shop receives commission from the Government on every successful application), the basic deal is identical everywhere. But the added incentives from individual brokers range from future share-dealing come-ons to free holiday draws.

However, there are important differences in the services available. Not all the shops offer PEP facilities and not all are taking applications for the retail tender.

Individual investors who want to put a larger allocation of shares into a PEP will need to apply (along with the institutions) through the international retail tender. This means giving up the discounts and incentives of the UK public offer. However, investors who apply to PEP their shares will be given priority in the tender allocation. Investors applying through the incentive route have 42 days to transfer their shares into existing or new PEPs.

The minimum investment in the UK public offer is 200 shares, comprising 120 National Power shares and 80 PowerGen. That works out to a minimum of £1,000, of which £352 will be payable on application. Subsequent payments are due on 6 February 1996 and 3 September 1997. The minimum first instalment in the retail tender will be £3,000. The discounts ,worth up to £200 on the price paid by professional investment institutions, comprise 25p per share on the first 800 shares allocated. There may be an initial discount when the pricing is announced on 6 March. But the full discount will only be available to those who hang on to their shares.

Share shop

Barclays Share Shop

0800 000888

City Deal Services

0708 738887

Hargrave Hale

01253 21575

Hargreaves Lansdown

0800 301301

Lloyds Bank Share Shop

0800 211211

Norwich and Peterborough BS

0800 550088

National & Provincial BS

0800 506070


0121 200 9000

Skipton BS

0800 310031

The Share Centre

0800 800008

Yorkshire BS

0800 573573

Dealing incentives

Share certificate sent free. Free advice from Barclays stockbrokers on 0800 551177.

Free registration for Virgin Freeway Miles plus 100 miles, or 300 miles for Freeway members.

Share dealing discounts plus an invitation to ride the world's biggest roller coaster on Blackpool beach

Registrants go into a draw for a holiday in Hawaii. Applicants incuded in draw for £13,000 Mazda 323; no extra cost for issuing share certificate

Share certificate sent free.

50% discount voucher against future transactions + 50% fee discount on `retail tender' sales and entry to Norwich City VIP tickets draw

No joining fee before the end of April,

Free 12 page investment report on registration+ telephone dealing commission halved to £10 on sales. On first £2,500, commission reduced from 1.5% to 1%

Future dealing charge reduced to £5 on a range of power shares for a limited period.

All who register included in draw for luxury holiday in India. Sales commission starts at £6.75.

No sales commission before the end of April, £5 membership also waived.