16 September 2002 – US investment guru Warren Buffet is among a group of investors considering a bid for British Energy – the troubled nuclear generator, according to a report in The Sunday Times.
Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway empire already owns Northern Electric and Yorkshire distribution companies and a link-up would give British Energy (BE) the retail arm which it lacks.
Interest is also expected to come from US utilities Florida Power and Light and Entergy. Electricité de France may also be attracted to a deal at the right price, having cast a series eye over BE two years ago.
BE is presently in discussions with British government to find a long-term solution to its threatened viability. Ten days ago, Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary agreed a £410m loan to BE to enable it to trade after the company warned of insolvency, largely due to depressed power prices.
The loan is only a temporary reprieve and the facility runs out on 27 September. A spokesman for BE said,” We are in talks with the government over long-term restructuring and we have warned investors that there can be no guarantee that value will be preserved for them. But we have an open mind about all aspects of the restructuring”.
In the meantime, bankers in the UK and US have been examining the company to see whether it can turned around to make a profit.