National Power’s future may be bigger abroad than in UK

National Power, Britain’s largest electricity generator when set up in 1991, may soon own more capacity overseas than in the UK. The company came under investor pressure last week after news that merger talks with United Utilities had been aborted. A de-merger of the company’s overseas operations was suggested to restore City credibility and revive […]

National Power, Britain’s largest electricity generator when set up in 1991, may soon own more capacity overseas than in the UK.

The company came under investor pressure last week after news that merger talks with United Utilities had been aborted. A de-merger of the company’s overseas operations was suggested to restore City credibility and revive its share price. This arm is judged undervalued against its underlying asset base.

National Power has an interest in 21,000MW of generating plant in 12 countries outside the UK, about 7,000MW of which it owns. Its UK portfolio is 16,000MW.

However, it is expected to sell its 4,000MW coal-fired station at Drax in Yorkshire this year to satisfy competition concerns of industry regulator Offer.

Overseas, it is starting to build another 2,000MW of wholly owned gas-fired combined-cycle plants in the US, should complete the purchase of a 40% stake in the 2,700MW PAK complex in Poland and is making big investments in Turkey operating 1,700MW of lignite-burning capacity and taking a 40% stake in a 700MW green-field project.

In 1991 it had 29MW of capacity in the UK, all coal fired, and nothing overseas.