EDF sells UK power network

Around 170,000 miles of electrical network covering London, the South East and eastern England was sold by France’s EDF today in a deal worth £5.8bn (€6.9bn).

The UK’s biggest electricity network is to be acquired by infrastructure fund Cheung Kong, which is controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing and is the current owner of UK distribution firm Northern Gas Networks.

The deal price, which includes debt, is higher than expected after Cheung Kong and its partner Hong Kong Electric Holdings reportedly outbid funds such as the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Australia’s Macquarie.

Long-term investors such as pension funds are attracted to assets such as utilities and power distribution networks due to their reliable income stream. Several such companies changed hands before the credit crunch struck.

Distribution companies operate and maintain the electrical supply system in particular areas. The EDF network serves around 7.8 million customers and has 170,000 kilometres of underground cables and overhead lines and 66,300 substations.

EDF, which owns the network through its UK subsidiary EDF Energy, bought British Energy for more than £12bn (€14.3bn) last year and wants the sale to cut around €5bn from its debts by the end of 2010.

The proposed sale was announced at the same time as EDF released half-year results showing a 3.8% rise in underlying earnings to €10.37bn.

In the UK, earnings of €1.6bn were down 2.1% after cold weather and lower wholesale prices were offset by a lengthy power outage at its Sizewell B power station, which it acquired as part of the British Energy deal.

The station should be reconnected to the grid in the current quarter, later than previously planned.

More in this Section

Airbus shares soar in past decade to top €107bn valueAirbus shares soar in past decade to top €107bn value

Philips to sell domestic appliance division to complete move into health technologyPhilips to sell domestic appliance division to complete move into health technology

Boost for motor trade but bar sales remain in doldrumsBoost for motor trade but bar sales remain in doldrums

Ireland is a tech hotspot but rural areas left in coldIreland is a tech hotspot but rural areas left in cold


Lifestyle

From Audrey Hepburn wearing a strapless ballerina gown, to Angelina Jolie in a suit, the red carpet rarely disappoints.13 of the biggest fashion moments in Bafta history

You might not be able to dictate when you menstruate, but you might be able to help alleviate some of the symptoms.Can you ‘biohack’ your period?

The American actor never fails to impress with her fashion choices.Blake Lively’s 7 best red carpet moments

Let love bloom with these heartfelt choices. By Hannah Stephenson.5 of the most romantic plants for Valentine’s Day

More From The Irish Examiner