German bid for Sizewell B firm

SIZEWELL B power station owner British Energy was today reported to be considering an £11billion takeover approach from German utility group RWE.British Energy, which confirmed last month that it was it talks which may lead to a takeover or merger offer, has now allowed RWE access to its books, according to the Financial Times.

SIZEWELL B power station owner British Energy was today reported to be considering an £11billion takeover approach from German utility group RWE.

British Energy, which confirmed last month that it was it talks which may lead to a takeover or merger offer, has now allowed RWE access to its books, according to the Financial Times.

With British Energy poised to play a major role in the development of a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK, any bid from RWE could face competition with French energy group EDF and British Gas owner Centrica.

The FT said RWE's all-cash indicative offer was likely to be preferred by British Energy shareholdes to Centrica's all-shares approach.

EDF is reportedly interested in buying only part of the British Energy but could make a full offer if RWE's bid goes ahead.

The Government, which owns a 35per cent stake in British Energy, could make up to £4billion if RWE's bid goes ahead, although it may prefer a joint bid involving Centrica to overcome concerns of the UK's nuclear generator passing into foreign ownership.

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British Energy operates all eight of Britain's active nuclear power stations. Besides Sizewell B, they include Dungeness B in Kent, Hartlepool, Heysham 1 and 2 in Lancashire, Hinkley Point B in Somerset, Hunterston B in Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian. It also owns a coal-fired power station at Eggborough in East Yorkshire.

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