TXU future still up in the air

TXU could go back to the future as an independent firm, if energy bosses successfully renegotiate loss-making contracts.

By JON TUNNEY

Jon.tunney@eveningstar.co.uk

TXU could go back to the future as an independent firm, if energy bosses successfully renegotiate loss-making contracts.

Cut adrift by their American parents, TXU could be heading back to the old days of Eastern Electric as an independent Ipswich-based energy company.

A spokesman for the fallen energy giants said it was too early to predict the likelihood of an independent company replacing the present TXU set-up.

But he accepted it was one of the possibilities of what is becoming an increasingly complicated fall from grace.

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Senior TXU executives have spent the week frantically trying to renegotiate massive long-term contracts that have scuppered the business with the wholesale price of electricity falling through the floor.

And if the make-or-break London talks are successful, it could mean the wolves prowling round the TXU doors could be repelled by a new leaner and meaner firm.

Spokesman Christian Judge said the talks were continuing in a positive way and the companies on the other end of TXU deals were negotiating in an understanding and responsible way.

But while the last-ditch talks were taking place, the vultures were continuing to circle above the vulnerable remains of TXU.

It is believed energy companies Scottish and Southern and Powergen – through their German owners Eon – are still very interested in buying up all or part of TXU's British operation.

Early suggestions Centrica, formerly British Gas, were involved in the bidding process now seem more unlikely.

Instead, Innergy – once known as NPower – now seem more likely suitors.

Mr Judge said all the Ipswich staff of the energy company were committed to working for the best eventual outcome.

He said: "It's been a very testing week and it's a very difficult time for everyone concerned.

"We hope to be able to clarify things over the next few days. We're going to do things promptly, but not hastily.

"We need to look after our customers and to do that we need to look after our staff.

"The staff are a credit to themselves and their company, their work has been what has enabled us to keep going.

"Given what we are going through, that is a real achievement."

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