Scottish Power-PacifiCorp deal progresses in UK

The proposed merger of UK utility Scottish Power with PacifiCorp of the USA has cleared a hurdle in the UK but has met with a delay in the US. The UK Competition and Consumer Affairs Minister has decided not to refer the deal to the Competition Commission, formerly the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

The UK decision follows the advice of the Office of Fair Trading and the electricity regulator. The UK authorities have accepted Scottish Power`s assurances that it will restructure its business in the UK as soon as possible to separate generation from its other activities. In the US, however, the Securities and Exchange Commission has asked for revisions to the companies` earlier filing. Scottish Power says that the deal is still on track to close by the end of 1999.

PacifiCorp, meanwhile, has announced that it has signed a letter of intent to sell its electric service area in California to Nor-Cal Electric Authority for $178m. The divestment is part of PacifiCorp`s strategy to focus on states where it has a large customer base. The company anticipates completion of the sale in early 2000.