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Duke Energy to acquire Progress Energy for $13.7bn

Duke Energy is awaiting regulatory approval for a $13.7bn deal to buy Progress Energy that would make it the largest power utility in the USA.

Should the deal be given the go-ahead, it would create an industry giant with 7.1m customers and a total generating capacity of 57 GW.

That could pose a problem for regulators, who have put a stop to such acquisitions recently. In the past, they have sought drastic concessions, such as rate reductions, from other companies planning to merge.

Jim Rogers, chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, says the new company would reap savings of $600-800m over five years due to the benefits of combining fuel costs and delivery systems. However, it would also assume around $12.2bn of Progress Energy’s debt as part of the acquisition.

Some analysts believe the Duke Energy/Progress Energy deal stands a good chance of being approved as long as there is assurance and protections in place that will benefit the consumers.

Iberdrola pays $2.4bn in cash for Brazilian utility Elektro

Spain’s Iberdrola has paid $2.4bn to Ashmore Energy International to buy Brazil utility Elektro Electricidade e Servicos.

Elektro distributes electricity to around 2.17m customers, principally in Sao Paulo, and its acquisition will consolidate Iberdrola’s presence in the northeast of Brazil. The Spanish firm already owns a 39 per cent stake in Neoenergia and the deal will turn it into one of the market leaders in the country’s electricity sector.

Iberdrola said that it intends to integrate Elektro and Neoenergia.

German market “lacks competition”

The level of competition in the German energy market remains “unsatisfactory” with four utilities providing power to 80 per cent of the wholesale market, according to the federal cartel office.

RWE, E.ON, EnBW and Vattenfall Europe are maintaining their dominance in the market, which includes 80 companies and 300 power stations, but there was no evidence that they had abused their position in 2007 or 2008, according to a study.

They had been accused of holding back capacity to drive up prices, but Andreas Mundt, chief of the German federal cartel office, said there were no indications that they had done so.

Bruce Power drops bid for Atomic Energy Canada Ltd

The most likely buyer of Canada’s nuclear power agency, Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. (AECL), has backed out of the sale after a key shareholder rejected the deal at a board meeting in mid-January.

After two years of trying to sell the commercial divisions of the agency, Bruce Power Corp. was the only company currently left in the running, leaving an uncertain future for AECL, which is the owner of Canada Deuterium Uranium (Candu) pressurised heavy water reactor technology.

Duncan Hawthorne, president and chief executive officer of Bruce Power, confirmed to staff that the firm had dropped out of the bidding process.

Emerson buys turbine specialists TCSA

Emerson Process Management has acquired Turbine Control Service Associates (TCSA), a US provider of generator excitation control systems for power plants.

Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but it is set to expand the depth and breadth of Emerson’s global power generation portfolio.

TCSA replaces ageing power plant controls with newer technology, such as the company’s Digital Generator Controller, which controls generation at nuclear, fossil and hydroelectric power plants generating thousands of megawatts of power combined.

SNC-Lavalin buys Colombian engineering firm

Canadian engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin has acquired Itansuca Proyectos de Ingenieria, an energy engineering firm based in Bogota, Colombia.

Itansuca offers consulting, project management, installation, design and supervision services.

The acquisition increases the number of SNC-Lavlin employees in Colombia to 1150, including more than 150 in the infrastructure sector.à‚ 

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Vietnam seeks investment: Vietnam Electricity (EVN) is planning on issuing overseas bonds worth $1bn. EVN suffered a loss of $410m last year due to poor water levels in hydropower reservoirs.

Icelandic geothermal revival: Wasabi Energy has acquired the Orkuveita Husavikur geothermal power plant located in northern Iceland. It will be immediately refurbished before returning on-line by mid 2012.

Obelisk takes over metmAsts: Obelisk Group has brought together Ireland’s two leading wind developers with the acquisition of metmAsts, a specialist supplier of meteorological masts, towers and equipment to the wind energy sector.

GE seeks cleaner future: GE has acquired Remote Engineering Monitoring, which implements metering solutions in the UK and Australia.

Norwegian maritime takeover: Heinzmann has acquired a majority share in Data Process Automasjon AS of Norway, which will be renamed Data Process.

GE edges into power conversion: With the buyout of Lineage Power Holdings from the Gores Group, GE has hopes to deploy its energy technology into the $20bn a year power conversion sector.

Vattenfall sells coal plant: Vattenfall Europe has sold its 25 per cent stake in the Rostock hard coal fired plant to ReinEnergie, which is also acquiring the 24.6 per cent share held by RWE.

Emerging technology joint venture: GE Capital, NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips have formed a joint venture to invest in emerging and innovative energy technology companies.

Clyde Bergmann in Colombian: Clyde Bergemann Power has opened an office to support its business interests in Colombia. It will support sales in fields such as boiler efficiency, materials handling, air pollution control, energy recovery and firing solutions.

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