BRITAIN’S biggest electricity network is up for sale after its owner said it was looking at “ownership options” for the business.
EDF Energy operates 100,000 miles of electrical network across London, the South East and eastern England, connecting to 8m homes.
French power giant EDF, which bought British Energy for more than £12bn last year, is examining a possible sale as part of plans to cut £4.6bn from its debts by the end of 2010.
Players linked with possible bids in recent months include the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Cheung Kong Infrastructure – the group owned by Li Ka-shing, Asia’s richest man.
Canadian pension funds Borealis, Ontario Teachers, and Canadian Pension Plan have also been highlighted as potential bidders.
And utility company Scottish & Southern, network monopoly National Grid, investment group GIP and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure have reportedly shown interest in making a potential offer.
However, analysts said any would-be purchaser is likely to drive a tough deal as recession and weakness in the financial sector starve the flow of capital – depressing the prices of major infrastructure assets.
EDF Energy has almost 5,000 staff in the UK.
Its chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “This unique combination of three regulated networks covers a key region vital to the UK economy.
“It has a highly experienced and skilled workforce which has a strong track record of delivery and is well placed for growth.”