National Grid Plc is to sell a majority stake in its gas distribution business in a deal that could be worth around £10m ($15m).

The Times reported the UK electricity network operator could increase its annual asset growth rate towards the upper end of a range of 5-7 per cent with a successful sale to a big infrastructure investor and sovereign wealth fund.
Steve Holliday
Steve Holliday, National Grid chief executive, said on Tuesday that “the sale of a majority stake will realise some of the value we have created for our shareholders”.

The process would begin in the second half of this year and 2016, with completion expected in early 2017, the company said.

National Grid also said the outlook for power supply in 2016/2017 showed further reductions in underlying supply margin after the announcement of further coal plant closures.

The grid, which last week was forced to ask big industrial power users to curb their demand following an unexpected electricity supply crunch, said that “sufficient generation” would be available this winter, despite what was likely to be “the tightest winter for a number of years” for the supply margin.

It anticipated making further, similar requests to large consumers next winter, as well as calling on back-up power plants should supplies fall short again.