Suez ends British Energy bid interest
French industrial group Suez has confirmed it was no longer involved in talks over a possible bid for UK nuclear power provider British Energy.
The withdrawal, which Suez blamed on the need to focus on its merger with Gaz de France, came as reports linked a new name to the £10 billion auction.
Scottish & Southern Energy is reportedly in talks with German power giant RWE about a joint bid for British Energy. The Daily Telegraph also said France's EDF and British Gas owner Centrica had moved closer to striking a formal agreement to work together on a deal for the energy provider.
British Energy recently said it had received a "range of proposals" from several parties wishing to make a full offer, adding that it planned to hold discussions with all the parties over the next few weeks.
Suez said the completion of the merger with Gaz de France - creating one of the world's largest energy companies - remained its "key priority".
It added: "Accordingly, Suez confirms that, in its discussions regarding the future development of the nuclear energy sector in the UK, those relating to a potential offer for British Energy have now ceased.
The French firm noted that City rules prevented Suez from resuming discussions relating to a potential offer for British Energy before the conclusion of its merger with Gaz de France.
Spain's Iberdrola - owner of Scottish Power - is also thought to be interested in British Energy, which operates all eight of Britain's nuclear power stations and should play a major role in the proposed development of the next generation of nuclear power supply.
It said in March it had received takeover approaches, reportedly prompting due diligence interest from five parties in all. The UK Government is considering the future of its 36 per cent stake in the firm, having sold a 25 per cent stake in the company last year for £2.08 billion.
Image: Suez has withdrawn from bidding for British Energy