Germany's RWE (RWEG.DE) and Britain's Centrica (CNA.L) have made indicative bids for British Energy BGY.L, valuing the nuclear power firm at up to 11 billion pounds ($22 billion), sources close to the matter said.
Following is a chronology on the ups and downs of British Energy:
July 1996 - British Energy privatized. It owns eight nuclear power stations and one coal-fired plant.
May 2002 - British Energy reports a 493 million pound pretax loss but surprises analysts by continuing to pay a dividend to shareholders.
August 13, 2002 - The company closes Scottish Torness reactors because of technical problems and slashes its electricity output forecast for the year. Shares fall nearly 30 percent.
September 5, 2002 - Shares suspended after the company says it may face insolvency because of low power prices. Seeks state support.
September 9, 2002 - Government gives it a 410 million pound loan. Shares resume trading, fall 65 percent.
October 1, 2002 - Belgium complains to European Commission over UK aid to British Energy.
September 22, 2004 - The European Commission clears a government-backed bailout agreed in 2003 giving bondholders more than 90 percent of the restructured company's equity in a 1.3 billion pound debt-for-equity swap. A British court approves the deal in January 2005.
January 2005 - The Department of Trade and Industry completes a debt deal with British Energy to help stave off possible bankruptcy, shouldering 5.1 billion pounds of power plant decommissioning liabilities.
April 19, 2006 - British Energy says it has sold 65 percent of this year's projected output at prices more than a fifth higher than last year's, lifting its shares.
October 16, 2006 - Shares sink almost 20 percent to 2006 lows after it says it would shut two nuclear reactors after finding cracked pipes at two other power stations.
May 30, 2007 - The British government said it planned to sell a 25 percent stake in British Energy, cutting its stake to below 39 percent, using the proceeds of 2.1 billion pounds to help fund the decommissioning of the firm's existing nuclear plants.
August 16, 2007 - British Energy reported a 12-percent fall in first-quarter core profits after cracks caused outages at its Hinkley Point and Hunterston stations.
October 22, 2007 - British Energy shares dive as problems at two of its power stations, Hartlepool-1 and Heysham-1 threatened to slash output.
January 10, 2008 - Britain gave the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power stations, setting no limits on nuclear expansion and adding momentum for a worldwide renaissance of atomic energy.
March 17, 2008 - British Energy said it was in talks which could lead to a business combination of a takeover offer.
April 7, 2008 - European utilities EDF (EDF.PA) and RWE have each approached Britain's Centrica about possible joint bids for British Energy, a source close to the matter said.
April 10, 2008 - RWE and Centrica have made indicative bids for British Energy, valuing the nuclear power firm at up to 11 billion pounds, sources close to the matter said.
One source said RWE made an all-cash proposal of just under 700 pence a share a few weeks ago. Another source said Centrica had tabled an all-share bid pitched below 700 pence a share.
(Compiled by Sarah Marsh; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
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