ENW bidders left ‘spooked’ by nationalisation plans

The proposed sale of Electricity North West could be in doubt with potential bidders left "spooked" by the Labour Party's plans to renationalise network operators, according to a report in the Financial Times.

ENW bidders left ‘spooked’ by nationalisation plans

The company, which was put up for sale last year by JPMorgan Asset Management and Australia’s Colonial First State, could fetch more than £2 billion.

But with final bids in the auction, reportedly being run by Citigroup, due last month – sources have now revealed to the FT that the process has been hit by political uncertainty after the Labour party published proposals to take energy networks back into public ownership in May.

According to previous reports the five potential bidders include Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure, which holds a 40% stake in UK Power Networks, and the Spanish utility Iberdrola, which owns SP Energy Networks through its parent company Scottish Power.

According to the Financial Times, three asset management firms were also said to be in the running – Equitix and Brookfield as well as a joint venture between State Grid Corporation of China and China Southern Power Grid.

ENW is jointly owned by infrastructure funds managed by JP Morgan and Colonial First State.

Electricity North West, Citi and JP Morgan Asset Management all declined to comment when approached by sister publication Utility Week.

ENW’s chief executive Peter Emery recently admitted that the company is undergoing a strategic review that could lead to a sale of the business.

Speaking exclusively to Network, he said: “We are undergoing a strategic review. That is no secret. The challenge for me and my senior team is to manage that process efficiently and professionally whilst at the same time run the business as business as usual. What we’ve said is that the strategic review may lead to a sale of the business.”


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