RWE acquires Essent for €9.3bn in push for expansion

German utility RWE has struck a €9.3bn ($12.1bn) deal to buy the Netherlands, power company Essent, in what is the largest deal of the year so far.

RWE has been seeking to expand its reach outside German borders and the acquisition of the Dutch company will help it move into the Benelux nations, where Essent enjoys a strong position in wholesale gas markets.

Essent’s waste management business and distribution networks, which are run as separate entities under Dutch law are not included in the deal but the €9.3bn transaction does include Essent’s net debt of more than €1bn.

The German utility could also be forced by the European Commissionto sell off some of Essent’s assets in Germany to avoid falling foul of competition law.

Essent, which is owned by Dutch local authorities, has also been keen to partner with a heavyweight European firm, after a €24bn merger with Dutch rival Nuon fell through.

RWE said it would finance the deal through a €9bn credit facility from a consortium of ten banks.

The deal, which is slated for completion this year, also depends on 80 per cent of issued and outstanding share capital being tendered.

GE confirmed as first tenant in Abu Dhabi’s $22bn Masdar City venture

GE has been unveiled as the first tenant of the $22 billion Masdar City, the carbon-neutral, zero-waste project in Abu Dhabi.

GE’s facility in Masdar City will house a centre focused on sustainable business solutions. To be known as the Ecomagination Centre, the 4000 m3 unit will support the development of energy efficient products in the region and will raise awareness of energy conservation among residents of Masdar City.

The deal provides a framework for both Masdar and GE to develop clean technology products.

India’a Larsen & Toubro to partner Toshiba unit for nuclear power

India’s Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is to partner a unit of Japan’s Toshiba to build nuclear reactors, hoping to tap Indian orders for power projects.

The two companies plan to build 1000 MW reactors in India but other terms of the partnership were yet to be finalized, according to M.V. Kotwal, director and head of L&T’s heavy engineering business.

Reactors worth 600-800bn rupees ($12.3bn-$16.4bn) could be ordered by 2020, Kotwal added.

Private firms are currently allowed to participate in the nuclear power sector only as a minority partner with state-run Nuclear Power Corp. Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Co unit will supply its AP 1000 light water reactors.

Russia’s TGK-1 plans infrastructure investment of 40bn rubles

TGK-1, a power generator based in St. Petersburg, is to spend 40bn rubles ($1.3bn) this year to upgrade and expand power plants even as nationwide demand for electricity slumps.

TGK-1, which is part-owned by Gazprom, expects to borrow as much as 15bn rubles by April and sell new shares to finance the upgrades, CEO Boris Vainzikher told journalists in St. Petersburg.

The company is turning to a bank loan after delaying a 5bn ruble bond sale at the end of last year, he said.

According to the central dispatcher of the power system, electricity use in Russia dropped 7.7 per cent last month compared to January 2008, signalling a faster decline in industrial demand for power. Adjusting to the fall in consumption, power producers lowered their output by 7.3 per cent in January, year-on-year.

GDF-Suez, Iberdrola, SSE plan UK nuclear venture

GDF-Suez, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Spain’s Iberdrola plan to work together to build nuclear power plants in Britain.

GDF Suez and Iberdrola said in a statement they had formed a 50/50 industrial partnership to bid for development sites currently owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and EDF Development Company.

The news came shortly after Iberdrola and SSE agreed a joint venture to bid for the sites, and will see GDF Suez and Iberdrola each take a 40 per cent stake, with SSE taking the remaining 20 per cent.

Areva T&D makes two acquisitions

Areva T&D has acquired Powermann in the UK and RB Watkins Inc in the US in an effort to get closer to key customers in those areas.

Powermann strengthens the Areva T&D’s high voltage service activity in the UK, especially with power generators and utilities.

The French company said the acquisition of RB Watkins would enhance Areva’s capability to install, maintain and repair power transformers in the United States, enabling it to differentiate itself through the quality of its service.

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Fair share: RWE Energy has acquired Luxembourg energy holding company Luxempart’s 51 per cent share in the new Luxempart Energie venture for around €186m ($243m). The Cegedel, Soteg and Saarferngas utilities will be merged into the new company.

Swedish takeover: Citec Engineering has acquired the Swedish company KPA Engineering, a consulting firm in industry and plant technology. The company has a turnover of around €5m ($6.52m) and offices in Karlstad, Göteborg, Norrköping and Örebro.

Green fund: French bank BNP Paribas and Impax Asset Management have launched an environmental fund in Australia. The A$1.13m ($1.67m) Impax Environmental Markets Trust will invest in companies that have at least half of their revenues, profits or capital employed derived from or invested in the environment.

Geothermal venture: RWE Innogy has set up a joint venture with Daldrup & Sohne in Ascheberg, Germany, to develop, plan and construct a range of geothermal power stations.

Swiss stake: EDF has agreed to buy a 25 per cent stake in Switzerland’s leading energy company Alpiq Holding SA for €705m ($922m). The company has hydraulic generation capacity in Switzerland of about 3000 MW, as well as 765 MW in nuclear capacity.

SPE sell-off: The UK’s Centrica has received full regulatory approval from the European Commission for its proposed purchase of GDF-Suez’s 25.5 per cent stake in Belgian power company SPE.

Waving, not drowning: Swedish utility Vattenfall has acquired 51 per cent of the Irish company Pandion in a €0.5m ($0.65m) deal. The remaining shares are held by the ocean energy developer Wavebob.

Dubai delight: Emerson has inaugurated a regional headquarters in Dubai designed to better serve its growing portfolio of business in the Middle East.

Nuke deal: ONET Group, has acquired UK nuclear engineering manufacturer Gravatom. Under the terms of the deal, Gravatom will become part of ONET Technologies, which is part of the ONET Group.