The German utility Eon has filed a lawsuit in the USA against the Spanish company Acciona in an attempt to prevent the latter building a stake to nearly 25 per cent in the electricity company Endesa which Eon wants to buy for €36.8bn ($46bn).

The action accused Acciona of misleading the New York Securities and Exchange Com-mission and is acting in concert with third parties to try and block the German company taking control of Endesa. Acciona, which has claimed that it is acting alone, has suggested that Eon has taken its action in the USA because it cannot achieve its objectives in the markets or courts of Europe.

Meanwhile the Spanish government has been forced by the European Commission to remove most of a series of 18 restrictions it placed on the acquisition of Endesa by Eon. However the government will insist that Eon divest itself of Endesa if a third investor gains more than 50 per cent of the company. It cites a similar condition imposed by the German government when Eon and Ruhrgas merged four years ago in 2002.

Eon has secured credit of €37.1bn ($47.7bn) to finance its purchase of Endesa. Eighteen banks involved in the financing have agreed to increase the amount available from €32bn ($41.2bn).


Doosan buys Mitsui Babcock for $169m

South Korean company Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co has purchased Mitsui Babcock from its present owner Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co for $169m. Once the deal is complete the company is expected to be known as Doosan Babcock, and will remain UK based.

The acquisition will give Doosan access to Mitsui Babcock’s boiler technology and allow it to compete in the world market for coal fired power stations. The market for coal fired plants in the USA, Europe and China is likely to be worth around $750bn according the International Energy Agency.

Doosan, which was privatized in 2000, is pursuing a global strategy. It has already purchased AES in the USA and IMGB in Romania.


MHI and Areva to cooperate for midsize nuclear power plant

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and the French nuclear group Areva have announced plans to jointly develop a midsize nuclear power plant ready to be marketed as early as 2010. The 1000 MW plant will be targeted at the USA.

The announcement is part of a realignment of the global nuclear industry following the acquisition of Westinghouse Electric Co by Toshiba. The latter company formerly cooperated with MHI in the nuclear arena. The third major global nuclear plant supplier is GE which already has an alliance with Hitachi.

Both MHI and Areva produce pressurised water reactors and are competitors for plants around 1500 MW to 1700 MW.


Schneider Electric bags APC for $6bn

Schneider Electric has agreed to acquire uninterruptible power supply (UPS) specialist American Power Conversion (APC) for $6bn. APC will be merged with Schneider Electric’s subsidiary MGE UPS Systems. However the transaction is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals

The deal will allow the merged company to invest more in large UPS systems where APC has recently seen growth of 30 per cent. Small and medium sized UPS systems currently represent 74 per cent of APC’s sales. The companies hope to complete the deal in the first quarter of 2007.


Borsig snaps up Hamburg-based boiler maker

Berlin-based Borsig Group has acquired Hamburg boiler construction company DIM Kraftwerks-Engineering for an unspecified sum. The move returns Borsig to a market that used to form a major part of its business.

The Hamburg company will operate under the name Borsig Boiler Systems, continuing to build boilers and boiler systems for power plants along with other engineering and power plant services. Borsig’s core business is the supply of heat exchangers, membrane technology, compressors and power plant services.


Municipal utilities to take stake in RWE coal plant

A group of German municipal utilities will take a stake in a coal fired power plant to be built by RWE. The 26 municipal utilities will participate in a joint company and the deal will give them access to 350 MW of the plant’s generating capacity.

The power plant will comprise two units with a total generating capacity of 1500 MW. Construction and operation of the plant will be performed by RWE.

RWE has also announced its intention to invest around €11bn ($14bn) in power plants, lignite mines, and power and gas distribution systems by 2012.


News Digest

Suez climbs:Suez Energy Resources has been ranked third largest retail electricity provider to commercial and industrial customers in the USA by tracking organization KEMA. The company supplies a peak load of 3850 MW.

Babcock credit:Babcock Power has agreed a new five-year, $95m revolving credit facility. The new facility increases the company’s borrowing capacity by $45m.

Vycon listing:Californian flywheel energy storage company Vycon has announced plans to list on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The investment raised will be used to develop higher capacity flywheel based products in the 500kW and 700kW ranges.

Sharp efficiency increase:Japanese company Sharp Corporation has developed a new solar cell product that boasts an energy conversion efficiency of over 37 per cent. The new solar panel uses gallium arsenide instead of silicon to improve efficiency and is designed to track the sun to optimize energy capture.

B&Q turns to wind:The UK Do-It-Yourself chain B&Q has claimed that its wind turbine, which sells in its store for £1498 ($2864), has become its top selling item in terms of cash revenue.

Iberdrola eyes Scottish Power:Spanish power company Iberdrola is believed to have made an offer for Scottish Power which values the UK company at around £11bn ($21bn). The bid has been made in conjunction with a private equity company, and if successful could see Scottish Power broken up.

EDF invests: French utility EDF is to invest €40bn ($51bn) to 2010 in activities across the group, but with particular interest in power generation. Around €3.3bn ($4.2bn) will be invested in wind energy and the company is already investing in the Gavet hydropower plant in the Alps and in a solar equipment production plant at Tenesol near Toulouse.

Suez-GdF structure:Suez and Gaz de France have agreed a management structure for their merged companies, but still have to agree the value to be placed on Suez for the proposed share swap scheme.

Toshiba deal:Toshiba has finally completed its deal to acquire Westinghouse. As a result it now owns Westinghouse UK and BNFL USA Group Inc, and has established two holdings companies, one in the UK and one in the USA to carry though the acquisitions.

Iberdrola wind contract: Iberdrola has signed a deal with Gamesa for 2700 MW of turbine capacity for its wind farms in Europe, the USA and Mexico between 2007 and 2009. Iberdrola will also purchase Gamesa’s US wind farms.