National Power is to sell its international business in a drastic restructuring intended to restore investor and industry confidence in the company.
The move will reduce National Power, which generated 46% of the UK’s electricity a decade ago, to a medium-sized player in England and Wales with just 5,000MW of capacity. It is seen as a potential takeover target with Shell or BP Amoco likely bidders.
The company has invested £2.6bn in power plants in 13 countries but recent returns have been disappointing.
In 1998-9, its international division made a profit of just £40m, down from over £100m the year before.
Much of this was attributable, however, to a project in Pakistan, which ran into severe political difficulties and incurred huge write-downs.