Gas Natural bids for Endesa

The Spanish energy company, Gas Natural has said it will not adjust its €22.5bn ($27.3bn) takeover bid for its native country’s largest electricity generator, Endesa, despite having its bid rejected by the company as ‘hostile and clearly insufficient’.

Early fears that the deal would be rejected on competition grounds were dispelled as Iberdrola, Spain’s second largest generator, said it was prepared to acquire 20 per cent of Endesa and some of Gas Natural’s distribution assets for around €8bn.

The proposed deal, which has received support from the Spanish government, would create one of the world’s largest integrated energy groups at a time of much merger speculation within the European energy industry.

Suez closes in on total control of Electrabel

The board of Belgian electricity group Electrabel has approved Suez’s offer for the remaining 49.9 per cent it requires to assume 100 per cent control.

The decision comes after the Belgian regulatory authorities received reports from Goldman Sachs and KBC Securities that the deal would not negatively affect the market. The regulatory authority, CBFA, was expected to give its final verdict on the deal before the end of September.

Suez originally offered €410 ($498) per share for the remaining 49.9 per cent of Electrabel’s shares, valuing the company at €11.2bn.

Snowy Hydro buys Valley plant to provide power peak

The group of companies which own the 300 MW Valley Power peaking plant in Victoria, Australia, are to sell their entire interests to Snowy Hydro Ltd for A$243m ($181m).

International Power and Mitsui & Co. (IPM) obtained a 60 per cent stake in the natural gas fired plant as part of its acquisition of Edison Mission Energy in 2004, while New Zealand power producer Contact Energy already owned the remaining 40 per cent.

At the time of the Edison acquisition, IPM reached an agreement with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to divest its interest in the 300 MW plant. Contact Energy said it decided to sell its stake to capitalize on the opportunity to refocus on its domestic market.

Located in the LaTrobe Valley, Valley Power’s six 50 MW open cycle gas turbines provide peaking power for the state of Victoria and are fuelled by natural gas.

GE submits bid for reactor license

GE Energy’s nuclear arm has submitted a Design Certification application for its new reactor design to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The company believes that its 1500 MW Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor is the most advanced reactor to be presented to the commission for approval as it is the only one that relies on natural circulation for normal plant operations as well as passive safety systems.

A verdict from the commission should be given to GE by the end of 2006 as the country aims to start a new nuclear build programme before the end of the decade.

Burgmann seals joint venture in Middle East

The German seal manufacturer, Burgmann Industries, has created a joint venture in Saudi Arabia with Gas Arabian Services in Dammam to help boost its presence in the Middle East.

Burgmann will hold a 65 per cent interest in the new venture with Gas Arabian owning the remainder.

Burgmann’s new subsidiary will trade under the name Burgmann Saudi Arabia Ltd and will be focussed on the sale and marketing, servicing and maintenance of mechanical seals, packings and expansion joints.

Mitsui Babcock continues European expansion plans

Mitsui Babcock has furthered its plan to exploit what it describes as the high growth potential in Europe by acquiring two niche businesses in the German power sector.

The businesses, DH Dampfkessel-und Behälterbau Hohenthurm GmbH and DH Kraftwerksservice Hohenthurm GmbH & Co. KG, were both acquired from DIM Industriemontagen. They will continue to operate as separate businesses.

DH Kraftwerksservice Hohenthurm GmbH & Co. KG has been acquired to enhance Mitsui’s construction, inspection, refurbishment and project management services and DH Dampfkessel-und Behälterbau Hohenthurm GmbH will strengthen its ability to manufacture pressure vessels, steam generators, boiler components, high pressure heat exchangers and pipe systems.

Bob Nimmo, managing director of Mitsui Babcock, said the company saw the acquisitions as: “further routes to expansion in Europe’s high growth market”.

Nimmo added that he envisaged his company would in the future expand and strengthen the operations of both new acquisitions.

News digest

EDF sells in Argentina: Authorities have approved EDF’s sale of 65 per cent of the Buenos Aires electricity distributor Edenor to the local investment fund, Dolphin. Dolphin will pay $100m for the stake. EDF will retain a 25 per cent share in the distribution company which has been affected by an enforced price freeze since 2001.

Fuel cell closure: Sulzer is to close its fuel cell business, Sulzer Hexis, after failing to find a partner to help finance its development. The company said it had become too great a risk in the current market and predicted a likely decline in political subsidies.

Geospatial solutions: The international management consultancy, Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance has awarded GE Energy’s geospacial solutions business the ISO9001:2000 certification for its quality management systems.

Mirant emergence: Mirant Corporation has reached an agreement with a number of key constituencies over the terms it needs to meet to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Polish investment: Renewable Energy Generation is to invest around £7.9m ($14.2m) in Poland’s largest wind farm after it reached an agreement with Invenergy Wind to participate in the 50 MW project. Developed by EEZ, the farm will use 25 Vestas 2 MW turbines when it enters operation in 2006.

Russian boarding: Fortum has secured three seats on each board of the four new companies created by the unbundling of OAO Lenenergo in St. Petersburg. Each of the new boards has 11 seats.

Solar San Diego: Stirling Energy Systems is to provide San Diego Gas & Electric with between 300 and 900 MW of solar power, approximately 30 times more solar power than currently exists in the region.

Simplified savings: ScottishPower has said it will save £60m ($108m) a year through corporate restructuring and ceasing a range of functions that were necessary under the previous ownership of PacifiCorp.

Turbine turmoil: Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has reported a first half loss of €105m ($128m) despite an increase in net sales of almost 50 per cent. The company said it has experienced supply issues after its most important component suppliers were unable to meet Vestas’ demands sufficiently.

Turbomeca Rolls over: Centrax Gas Turbines is to takeover the maintenance of Turbomeca’s 501 generator sets after the French company decided to cease marketing the Rolls Royce engine to focus on its own engines.