Germany's EON to sell British power grid to US firm

2nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

EON, Germany's biggest power group, said Wednesday that it will sell its British electric grid business Central Networks to the US group PPL for 4.7 billion euros ($6.5 billion).

In April 2010, EON already sold its US subsidiary to Pennsylvania Power & Light for $7.6 billion.

The latest transaction, which involves the second biggest British power grid and includes the transfer of $585 million in debt, should be finalised by early April, an EON statement said.

The German group plans to sell non-core assets worth 15 billion euros by the end of 2013 to pay down massive debt and the sale of Central Networks was decided as part of that strategy.

EON has also unloaded shares in the Russian gas giant Gazprom for 3.4 billion euros.

Another company, Hong Kong Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI) had also bid for the British network, press reports said in Britain last month.

In the end, however, PPL was chosen to buy the grid system in central Britain that serves five million clients.

The acquisition will make it the largest network operator in Britain since PPL already serves 2.6 million clients there via its Wester Power Distribution unit, according to information on the US group's website.

"Opportunities as compelling as this do not come along very often," PPL chairman Jim Miller was quoted as saying.

© 2011 AFP

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