Your Money: Three... two... one... Go!

Before hot summer days overwhelm them, savers should act on a trio of important deadlines, writes
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The Independent Online
In A closing down sale, you expect to pick up something cheap, is how the Financial Times has described the Government's latest and arguably most controversial privatisation. Just how cheaply the Government will have to sell off the nuclear power stations that make up British Energy will be better known on Wednesday when the full prospectus is published.

But if you are interested in subscribing to the share offer then you should register with a share shop by the deadline of close-of-business tomorrow (Monday).

Share shops have advertised in newspapers and include many high-street banks and building societies as well as stockbrokers. Registering will not commit you to buying and should only involve a short phone call. But it will give you the best deal - in terms of price and allocation - should you subsequently decide to buy.

All small investors are already promised a discount on the first-instalment price big City investors will pay. Registering with a share shop gives you a choice of further incentives: 10p off the second instalment price (payable in September 1997) with a maximum discount of pounds 120, or one free share for every 15 held until 31 July 1999.

Registering with a share shop will also give you preference in the share allocation should the offer be oversubscribed.

Some share shops are offering particularly cheap deals for subsequently selling the shares, others offer cheap PEPs or free prize draws. You may register with as many as you like but you can only apply for shares through one. Examples include Barclays bank (pounds 7.50 if you sell by 16 August: 0800 000333); Skipton building society (pounds 5 if you sell by 9 August, also a free draw for a day out at an event such as Wimbledon: 0800 1380800); The Share Centre (low-cost family sales, cheap Peps: 0800 800008).