Innogy snaps up Independent Energy

UK energy retailer Innogy has acquired the major supply business assets of Independent Energy, the energy group that went in to receivership in early September. The £10m ($14.6m) deal brings Innogy’s total number of energy customers in the UK to over three million.

Innogy, the soon-to-be-demerged UK business of National Power, announced the deal on 14 September 2000, just five days after Independent Energy called in the receivers. The deal ensured that all of Independent Energy’s gas and electricity customers would have a continuing supply.

The acquired assets include contracts to sell electricity to around 240 000 customers, including 100 000 domestic customers, and contracts with 80 000 domestic gas customers. Innogy has not acquired any of Independent Energy’s debts under the transaction.

Independent Energy went into receivership on September 9 after refinacing talks failed. The company revealed in June 2000 that it had been unable to collect £119m from customers due to billing problems, and the regulator later stopped it from taking on new customers in the sub-100 kW market.

ABB buys US software company

Global technology group ABB has acquired Energy Interactive Inc., a provider of information software and services to the US energy market, for an undisclosed sum. The deal will give ABB a foothold in the US power retail market, where deregulation is expected to fuel long term growth.

Energy Interactive delivers e-business and software products and services for utilities, power marketers, energy service providers and major energy consumers. The new business will be called ABB Energy Interactive.

ABB said that Energy Interactive’s expertise is a logical extension of its own software and e-business capabilities. “This is a strategic opportunity and a good fit to ABB,” said ABB president and CEO Göran Lindahl. “ABB is gaining an early foothold in the retail market. We’re bringing on a dynamic team of people to deliver top software and service solutions.”

Energy Interactive’s products include energy billing systems, Web-based residential energy auditing, and software to analyse energy loads.

Unión Fenosa integrates under Soluziona

Spanish industrial and services group Unión Fenosa has integrated all its professional service activities into one unit known as Soluziona. The activities include engineering, information technology, strategic consulting and outsourcing.

Soluziona will be one of six business lines within the company and is expected to have an annual turnover of Pta70bn ($379m) with activities in around 37 countries.

The unit will focus on its core skills in the field of new technologies and business management, and also aims to build a new platform to offer Unión Fenosa’s customers integrated solutions with a high added-value component.

Soluziona says its skills will be enhanced by strategic agreements with IBM, Computer Science Corporation and SAP.

PowerGen profit warning

UK energy group PowerGen has announced a drop in profits for the six months ending July 2000. The group held its interim dividend and also warned that second half profits would be hit by low electricity prices.

PowerGen reported profits of £300m ($438m), down from £322m for the same period in 1999. Group turnover for the six months increased, however, mainly due to increased turnover in its energy retail business and in PowerGen International. It attributed the fall in profits to lower profits in electricity wholesale and trading.

Chairman Ed Wallis said that a further fall in profits is expected in the second half due to a sharp decline in electricity prices in the UK. “PowerGen’s hedging policy meant that the first half of this year was not adversely affected by these falls,” said Wallis. “In the second half, however, the effect of lower contract prices will feed through into our numbers.”

Rolls-Royce will tap Asian markets

Rolls-Royce has announced that it is planning to grow its energy interests throughout Asia where it sees a $50bn market for its products over the next ten years. The company’s Singapore offices will provide it with a base for its activities throughout the region’s power markets.

The announcement came just a few weeks after the group announced a jump in underlying pre-tax profits for the first six months of the year, but warned that earnings for 2001 would be flat. The company booked a £120m ($175m) provision in the first half of 2000 to upgrade installed Trent industrial gas turbine generators to meet new emission rules.