Centrica boss Iain Conn has revealed the company is open to bids for its 20 per cent stake in the UK’s fleet of eight nuclear power stations, according to reports.
The admission came after Centrica’s share price plunged to its lowest level in 14 years last week. Traders were responding to the news that British Gas had lost 823,000 domestic energy supply accounts over the three months to the end of September.
“If someone came along and said, ‘We are really interested in [the nuclear stake],’ we would consider it,” Conn told the Sunday Times.
However, the chief executive also cautioned that such a deal could face political opposition given that the most likely bidders would be Chinese firms. “There are very few buyers of nuclear assets acceptable to the government and EDF,” he added.
The UK’s nuclear fleet was formerly owned and operated by British Energy, which was acquired by EDF in 2009 for £12.5 billion. Later that year, Centrica bought a 20 per cent in the company for £2.4 billion.
As part of its incorporation into the EDF group, British Energy was rebranded as EDF Energy Nuclear Generation in 2011.