The local government shareholders of Holland’s second largest energy concern, Nuon, have agreed to sell a minority stake in the company.
The official announcement on Friday morning was preceded by an interview in Friday’s Financieele Dagblad in which the Norwegian chief of Nuon, Oystein Loseth, said the company will have found and signed a principle agreement with a foreign partner within six to nine months.
‘We don’t want to sell the company but we are looking for economy of scale and capital. Together with our shareholders we have decided that a foreign partner is the best solution,’ Loseth told the paper.
Denmark’s Dong and the UK’s Centrica are seen as the most likely candidates.
Nuon’s value has been put at €5bn euros exclusive of its grid operations which have to be divested before the company is allowed to sell off shares.
The province of Friesland and Amsterdam city council (which have a combined stake of just over 22% in Nuon) have wanted to sell their interests for some time.
But together with a number of other shareholders, the province of Gelderland (44%) has agreed not to sell its stake in Nuon for the coming four to six years, Loseth told the FD. This will guarantee a majority stake will remain in Dutch hands.
Friday’s announcement means plans for a merger with the Netherlands biggest energy firm Essent have now been totally abandoned.
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