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UK government still prefers EDF deal for British Energy

A takeover of British Energy by Electricite de France is still the government’s preferred option for the nuclear generator, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

The paper said energy minister Malcolm Wicks told it a deal with EDF was “the most sensible option”, adding: “We think that’s the natural link”. The government, which owns about 35% of British Energy, gave the green light in January to new nuclear power stations to help cut carbon emissions and reduce reliance on energy imports. This sparked takeover interest in British Energy, which lacks the expertise to build new plants but whose land holdings alongside existing nuclear power stations are viewed as the best sites for new developments.

Over the weekend, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported British Energy’s largest investor, Invesco, wants it to merge with utility Centrica and then “work out a joint venture with EDF to build nuclear sites (in Britain)”.

On August 4, Centrica said it might revive plans to merge with British Energy after French power group EDF’s £12 billion bid for the nuclear power company stalled. A government spokesman said at the time that Britain’s preferred option remains a takeover by EDF. (Reuters)