British Energy has recruited Lowe Howard-Spink to handle the controversial 5m privatisation of the nuclear industry.
The sell-off, scheduled for summer, is likely to be one of the most difficult Government priva-tisations to date. The nuclear side of the electricity industry was dropped from the National Power privatisation in 1995 because it was feared it would damage the prospects of the mainstream sell-off.
British Energy was created by combining Scottish Electric and Nuclear Electric last year to prepare for privatisation. It scrapped plans to build two power stations last month which raised further doubts about investor confidence in the sell-off.
“There is a tremendous amount of emotional baggage attached to the word ‘nuclear’,” says one inside source. “But that need not be a problem when it comes to the privatisation. The view taken is that whether it is privately or publicly-owned does not affect the dangers of nuclear power – it cannot be uninvented.”
A spokeswoman for the Central Office of Information, which handled the appointment for the Department of Trade & Industry, says final details on the budget have yet to be agreed. “It is Government privatisation work, not corporate.”