The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt today agreed to a request from British Energy plc to increase the maximum amount available under the Credit Facility Agreement from £200 million to £275 million.
The Department has been advised by the company that the reasons for this request are the costs of unplanned outages at Sizewell B and Heysham 1 and increases in the required levels of trading collateral, which have had an adverse impact on the company’s liquidity.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the increase is subject to the condition that it will be limited to the period prior to the receipt of proceeds from the sale of the company’s interest in Amergen, or the 22 February 2004 depending on which is earlier. Thereafter the loan will be reduced back to £200 million.
Today’s increase in the facility is said to be within the rescue aid ceiling approved by the European Commission on 27 November 2002.
‘As we have said, if the Government is not satisfied that British Energy will be viable in all reasonable foreseeable conditions, or if there is a material adverse change in British Energy’s position, the Government has reserved the right to withdraw its support for the restructuring,’ commented Hewitt. ‘The Government remains ready for administration if any of the restructuring conditions are not met.’