Alstom, Schneider Electric line up €4.1bn Areva T&D purchase

Alstom and Schneider Electric of France appeared to beat off rivals GE and Toshiba with an improved €4.1bn ($6.4bn) bid for the transmission and distribution arm of state-owned nuclear group, Areva.

Areva’s supervisory board announced on 30 November that it would enter exclusive negotiations with the two French bidders.

The announcement is likely to spark accusations of protectionism, as the French bid was not the highest and the French government had appeared to delay a decision in order to give Alstom and Schneider time to revise their offer.

The French consortium improved its bid by dropping performance conditions that would almost certainly have cut the value of the €4bn offer by €400m. The French offer values the equity at €2.3bn, against Toshiba’s €2.4bn.

The French bid has also been controversial, as it will mean dividing the world’s third largest supplier of transmission and distribution equipment in two.

Schneider will take the medium voltage distribution arm, while Alstom intends to take the high votage business.

Areva has been forced by the French state to sell the business to fund a €10bn investment programme, mainly in nuclear power. Areva acquired the T&D activities from Alstom for €920m in 2004.

RWE and E.ON establish joint venture in UK named Horizon Nuclear Power

RWE npower and E.ON UK have created a UK nuclear joint venture named Horizon Nuclear Power.

The company began operations last month, working from headquarters near Gloucester, UK.

The 50:50 joint venture was announced back in January and aims to develop around 6000 MW of new nuclear capacity in the UK by 2020. The first reactor to be built by Horizon is expected to come online around 2020. Earlier this year, the company secured development land at Wylfa on Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in south Gloucestershire. Its programme of new nuclear power stations could involve an investment of more than £15bn ($24bn) and the creation of 11 000 jobs.

UAE plans stakes in nuclear companies

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) latest plans to set-up a new vehicle to takes stakes in the global nuclear industry are expected to be formally established within weeks.

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation will oversee the development of a domestic nuclear programme and act as a government investment arm by making strategic investments in the sector, domestically and internationally. Government officials hope that an agreement with the US will be finalized shortly, which would allow civilian nuclear trade with the UAE. Similar deals have been reached with France and Korea.

The UAE is expected to award contracts – estimated to be worth about $20bn – for the construction of the nuclear power plants.

GE and Shenhua Group forge clean coal joint venture

GE and China-based Shenhua Group will form a joint venture to build and operate coal gasification and coal fired power generation facilities in China.

The joint venture plans to improve cost and performance of commercial scale gasification and IGCC power plants. These are expected to be used in applications in China, and the deployment of commercial scale IGCC plants with carbon capture. The parties anticipate that the transaction could be completed in the first half of 2010, subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements and obtaining required approvals.

GE’s gasification technology is already widely used in China, with more than 40 licensed facilities. This project will deploy GE’s quench gasifier and high-pressure gasification technology, which is expected to reduce overall costs of clean coal technologies.

E.ON sells German power grid assets

German-utility E.ON has sold its domestic long-distance power grid to the Netherland’s state-owned grid operator TenneT for €1bn ($1.5bn).

E.ON will sell 10 700 km of high voltage power lines to TenneT with effect from 1 January 2010.

TenneT which runs 3500 km of high voltage grid in the Netherlands said it wanted to create a north west Europe power market and was working with power exchanges and grid operators.

The move follows E.ON’s claims the grid was a vital part of its business until it decided last year to sell it, following changes to regulation and reported pressure from the European Commission.

MHI creates new compressor unit

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has decided to establish a company dedicated to compressor business operations effective 1 April 2010.

The wholly-owned subsidiary will integrate Mitsubishi’s current operations in compressors with those of Mitsubishi Turbo-Techno, which now handles related after-sales services.

The Japanese firm said it wants to boost business development in this area in its quest to rank in the world’s top three compressor manufacturers. The new company will based at its Kan-on plant in Hiroshima.

Wind investment: Sweden’s Vattenfall will invest SEK5.8bn ($840m) in its domestic power grid to enable a significant expansion of wind power, with 4500 MW set to be installed in the next decade.

 

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Vattenfall appointment: Øystein Løseth has been appointed to take over from Vattenfall’s current CEO, Lars G. Josefsson in 2010. Løseth is currently CEO of Dutch company Nuon Energy, which is 49 per cent owned by Vattenfall.

New order: Osborne Engineering has announced its recent acquisition of Apix Consulting. The new division has been rebranded as OEL Apix Consulting.

Exchange deal: GDF Suez has acquired conventional power stations from E.ON with a total capacity of 860 MW and 132 MW of hydro capacity. E.ON has acquired a 556 MW coal and biomass fired power station, and a 385 MW gas fired power station, as well as rights to offtake 770 MW from nuclear power stations from GDF Suez.

Plans halted: Global Marine Systems and Visser & Smit Marine Contracting have announced theywill not establish a company based on a planned joint venture, a legal entity which was to be called ‘Seabed Power’ after concerns from EU competition authorities.

UK sale: The UK Atomic Energy Authority’s £50m ($82.8m) sale of 100 per cent of its commercial arm, UKAEA Limited to Babcock International Group was completed in November.

Carbon capture: Alstom has acquired the engineering office of Lummus Global, renaming the unit Alstom Carbon Capture.

Nuclear acquisition: Canada’s Hydro-Quebec is to acquire most of the assets of New Brunswick Power for C$4.75bn ($4.45bn). Hydro-Quebec will acquire the 635 MW Point Lepreau nuclear power plant, several hydro facilities and transmission and distribution assets.

German deal: Integra Energie – a consortium of local German utilities – has raised a €850m ($1.3bn) loan to part fund the acquistion of another German utility Thuga, owned by E.ON. Thuga owns minority stakes in around 100 municipal utilities across Germany, most of which are power and gas providers.

 

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