20 November 2002 – State-owned Gaz de France (GdF) has entered the commercial electricity supply market in the UK with the purchase of RWE Trading Direct Tuesday.

The price paid was not disclosed but Georges Bouchard, GdF’s director for strategy, said the deal, which had been on the back burner for more than a month after RWE decided to sell the Leeds-based unit following its acquisition of Innogy.

GdF is already active in the gas markets in Britain, and supplies gas through a subsidiary based in Shropshire, central England, owns rights to capacity in the gas pipeline linking eastern England with mainland Europe and has interests in North Sea gas production.

In the electricity sector, the company only deals in wholesale power in Britain through a pan-European energy trading joint venture with French bank Societé Generale.

In order to enter the electricity sales market, GdF bought energy consultancy Volunteer Energy, now renamed Gaz de France Energy Supply, which concluded the deal with RWE.

RWE Trading Direct, which was set up a year ago, specialises in supplying industrial and commercial consumers rather than private households.

The company recently won a lucrative contract to supply gas and electricity to all the UK sites of J. Sainsbury Plc, Britain’s second biggest supermarket chain.

Gaz de France’s fellow state-owned utility Electricité de France is already a major player in the UK, owning power stations as well as the London Electricity supply business and the power distribution grid covering eastern England.