British Energy has overhaul date extended

British Energy today said it had been given the all-clear to extend the deadline for a life-saving financial restructuring.

British Energy today said it had been given the all-clear to extend the deadline for a life-saving financial restructuring.

The troubled nuclear power group secured more room to manoeuvre after creditors agreed to put the final day for the completion of the proposed debt-for-equity swap back to March 31.

The agreement, which compared with a previous deadline of January 31, emerged a week after British Energy said it may have to review timings because of delays restarting plants at Hartlepool and Heysham, Lancashire.

The restructuring also requires the approval of Britain's Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt, who has extended the British government’s own deadline to April 30.

Under the restructuring plan – drawn up in October 2003 after low wholesale prices sent the group heavily into the red – banks and bondholders agreed to write off £1.3bn (€1.8bn) in debt in return for control of the group. Shareholders will be left with just 2.5% of the company.

The plants at Heysham and Hartlepool, which have been shut due to modifications, are likely to be back in operation by the middle of December.

It also has sites at Hinkley Point, Somerset; Hunterston, Ayrshire; Dungeness, Kent; Sizewell, Suffolk and Torness, East Lothian.

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