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Friday, April 11, 2008

Vattenfall: Interested In Developing Nuclear Plants In UK

Swedish utility Vattenfall said Friday it is interested in developing nuclear power plants in the U.K.

"We don't comment on rumors but we are of course interested in the British market," a spokesman for the company told Dow Jones Newswires when asked if the company was in talks with British Energy (BGY.LN) about possibly building reactors or even buying a stake in the U.K. nuclear power producer.

"We are interested in developments in nuclear power there," said the spokesman.

Vattenfall has previously said that it supported pre-licensing applications to the U.K. government for nuclear reactors designed by France's Areva SA (CEI.FR) and General Electric (GE) of the U.S.

Vattenfall is seen as a likely candidate to be interested in the bidding process for British Energy, as it is one of the few European utilities with sufficient money to make the acquisition, as well as being an experienced nuclear power operator.

Last month, British Energy said it was in talks with potential suitors after the U.K. government indicated that it might sell its 35% stake in the power company. Under U.K. takeover rules, if a company were to buy the entirety of this stake, it would have to make a full takeover bid for the company.

Germany's RWE AG (RWEOY) has reportedly offered close to 700 pence a share in case for the company, valuing it at GBP11 billion.

According to media reports, EDF Energy, the U.K. arm of Electricite de France (1024251.FR), and U.K. utility Centrica PLC (CPYYY) have also made offers to buy either part or all of the company.

Spanish utility Iberdrola (IBE.MC), German power company E.ON AG (EONGY) and Suez (SZE.FR) have also said they are in talks to potentially buy into British Energy.

Unlike companies like Centrica, E.ON, and EdF, Vattenfall is likely to want to build nuclear reactors to supply industrial customers as it doesn't have a retail supply market in the U.K., analysts said.

Companies are looking to buy into British Energy as it owns some of the most suitable sites for building new nuclear power plants in the U.K. It is one of the few U.K. energy firms with a large number of experienced nuclear staff.

At 1554 GMT, British Energy shares traded up 1.20% at 741 pence.

(Source: CNNMoney.com)

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