Energy shareholders ask for merger backing

The shareholders of Dutch energy company Essent and the country’s employers organisation VNO-NCW have asked prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende to mediate in a merger between the Netherlands’ two biggest energy concerns, Essent and Nuon, and gas trader GasTerra, reports Thursday’s Financieele Dagblad.

In an open letter to the cabinet, Essent’s provincial government shareholders say such a merger is ‘the best path for consumers, employees and shareholders’.
Marc Calon from the province of Groningen tells the paper that they want the cabinet to put pressure on Nuon’s shareholders and supervisory board to merge with Essent.
A merger attempt between the two power firms last year was eventually abandonned because of divisions within Nuon. Rather than a merger, Essent is now seeking to take over Nuon, according to the Financieele Dagblad.
Those who support the merger believe that the Netherlands needs to create a strong Dutch energy firm which can withstand a foreign takeover attempt in order to safeguard national energy supplies. But Nuon has made no secret of the fact that it is interested in an alliance with a European energy concern.
The employers organisation VNO-NCW and the small and medium sized business association MKB as well as several provincial governments with a stake in Essent have signed the letter, says the Finanicieele Dagblad.

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