British Energy plans relisting for mid-January, extends ‘long stop’ date
British Energy, the nuclear generator, has confirmed plans to re-list its shares in mid-January, but said that it is in the process of gaining approval for a two-month extension of its Credit Restructuring deadline, should any complications arise.
The company is to present its restructuring plan to the Scottish High Court on 14th January, and, assuming the court approves the scheme, will re-list the shares as soon as possible after that date – potentially 15th January but thought more likely to be Monday 21st January. The company on Tuesday published a 708 page prospectus ahead of its planned relisting.
The company de-listed its shares last month in order to head off an attempt by hedge fund and British Energy shareholder Polygon Investment Partners to force a renegotiation of the restructuring deal originally agreed in October 2003.
The company added that it would hold an extraordinary general meeting on 22nd December for shareholders and bondholders to approve the restructuring programme.
British Energy also confirmed that it was in the process of gaining approval for an extension to the existing ‘long-stop’ date of 31st January 2004 for the restructuring deadline, until 31st March 2004. It had already been granted approval by bondholders, Deutsche Bank, BNFL and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. It has also received approval from 53% of holders of the Eggborough Banks claims (including Barclays and RBS). The approval of further Eggborough Banks is required to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority, the company said.
Earlier this month the company said that the continuing outage at a number of its plants, principally Hartlepool and Heysham 1, had necessitated a second write-down in its anticipated output for 2004/5, from 61.5 TWh to 59.5 TWh. As a result, the company said that it would to seek an extension of the credit restructuring deadline.
A spokesman for British Energy said that it was not anticipated that there would be any need to enact the extension but that, bearing in mind the short two-week time frame between the presentation of the restructuring plan to the Scottish High Court and the 31st January deadline, the measure was being taken “just in case” there were any unforeseen delays, though he said that the generator expected no problems in being granted approval by the court. If British Energy is not granted the extension and fails to finalise restructuring by 31st January it will be forced to pursue insolvency proceedings.
In a conference call British Energy’s chief executive officer Mike Alexander said that, as a result of the problems at the Hartlepool and Heysham 1 plants, the company would approximately double annual expenditure on maintaining its generation portfolio from £120 million to £200-250 million until 2008. The company will also investigate the possibility of extending the operational lives of its nuclear portfolio. By 2015 only three of the company’s eight nuclear plants are still scheduled to be operational. With the first, Dungeness, scheduled to close in 2008, Alexander said that the company would look to reach a decision on the possibility of extension by the end of 2005 with the various interested parties. GR
Other Related Stories