A $7.9bn bid from Exelon, an Illinois-based electricity generator, for Constellation Energy has upset EDF, which has a nuclear power joint venture with the Maryland-based power company.
EDF claims the takeover would damage both EDF by dimming the outlook for Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (CENG) – which owns five reactors totalling about 4 GW – as Exelon would likely favour its fully owned nuclear plants.
Exelon responded on 13 October, saying it was “perplexed” by EDF’s arguments and that the French company’s approval is not required for the merger to proceed.” A commission in Maryland is due to deliver a decision by 5 January next year.
Exelon would become the US’s biggest nuclear plant operator if the Constellation takeover goes ahead. The merged group would tie with Southern Company as the largest US energy utility by market capitalisation, worth about $36bn.
EDF, which holds 7.3 per cent in Constellation, set up CENG with the company in 2008 to build new reactors. The French group still holds 49.99 per cent of the joint venture, which was wound down after prospects faded for a large-scale nuclear programme in the US.
EDF has asked the regulator to block the deal or to protect CENG’s autonomy.
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