EDF, the French utility giant, has secured a £12.5bn bid to acquire British Energy. Centrica, the owner of British Gas, is also in talks to take a 25% stake in the nuclear power generator.
The deal means EDF, the parent company of EDF Energy, will control the bulk of Britain’s nuclear power stations and will be responsible for implementing Government plans to grow the role of nuclear power. Four new plants are expected to be built, with the first to be unveiled by 2017.
The British government, which owns 36% of British Energy, has supported the deal.
Centrica is expected to pay £3.1bn and receive 25% of the electricity generated by British Energy’s reactors. It will also have the option to take a 25% stake in new nuclear power stations.
EDF chairman Pierre Gadonneix says: “This paves the way for investment in the UK.”
The move comes in the wake of massive price rises put in place by the “big six” UK energy suppliers. EDF Energy was the first utility company to hike its prices in July. It increased gas by 22% and electricity by 17%.