Eastern and Hidroelectrica form trading alliance

UK utility Eastern Group and Spain`s Hidroelectrica del Cantabrico have formed an alliance to sell electricity in Spain`s competitive retail market, and to trade electricity and natural gas in the wholesale power market.

Eastern, controlled by Texas Utilities of the USA, has also acquired a five per cent stake in Hidroelectrica for $90m (euro77.7m). Both companies want to become major players in the rapidly deregulating Spanish energy markets. Eastern is the second UK utility to move into the Spanish market in recent months.

Two Eastern Group officers will be appointed to the Hidroelectrica board as part of the deal. Hidroelectrica, Spain`s fourth largest electric utility, serves 500 000 customers and has revenues of $700m. The company posted profits of over $106m in 1997 and is expected to maintain this strong performance.

In November last year, UK generator National Power formed an alliance with Unión Fenosa.

•Eastern Group has purchased BG plc`s entire CHP capacity in the UK for £16m (euro22.8m). Their total capacity is more than 170 MW.