Reliant makes move on Europe

Reliant makes move on Europe

US power group Reliant Energy Inc. has agreed to buy Dutch generator Energie Produktie Bedrijf (UNA) for $2.4bn. The moves represents the first acquisition of a continental European electric utility by a US company, and could pave the way for similar deals if regulatory approval is received.

Reliant Energy, formerly Houston Industries Inc., will pay $900m for an initial 40 per cent stake in UNA. Reliant reportedly outbid a number of other companies interested in the deal. Regulatory approval should be secured by June this year.

Under the deal, Reliant`s holding in UNA will rise to more than 50 per cent by 2002 and the remaining shares will be purchased by 2006.

UNA has an installed capacity of 3400 MW and supplies 20 per cent of Holland`s electricity. It is the first electric company in the Netherlands to be privatized, and has said that it had been seeking a strategic relationship with a strong industry player.

Reliant, one of the USA`s largest electric and natural gas companies, has been seeking acquisitions in Europe for a number of months.

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