GERMAN energy giant E.ON is understood to be in advanced talks to sell Britain’s second-largest electricity distribution network to a group of foreign investors for up to £3.5bn.
A consortium comprising the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Canada Pension Plan and Australian bank Macquarie is thought to have approached E.ON about the business, made up of the distribution arms of the former Midlands Electricity and East Midlands Electricity companies now known as Central Networks (CN).
The consortium is believed to have approached the German utility recently and talks progressed quickly.
German news magazine Der Spiegel reported during the weekend that E.ON was considering the sale of several assets to make up for falling earnings.
A spokesman for E.ON refused to comment. “We’re not saying anything about this, I’m afraid,” he said.
Central Networks supplies electricity through local power lines to about 4.9m homes and businesses in an area stretching from the Welsh borders in the west to the Lincolnshire coast in the east and from the Peak District in Derbyshire down to the outskirts of Bristol. E.on merged ME and EME to form CN in 2004.