September 24, 2008 / 1:44 PM / 12 years ago

RWE reiterates interest in British nuclear

ESSEN (Reuters) - Germany’s RWE (RWEG.DE), Europe’s fifth-largest utility, said on Wednesday it still remains interested in building new nuclear power stations in Britain.

Steam rises from the cooling towers of the lignite-fired power plant Neurath of RWE Power AG company west of Cologne August 24, 2007. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

Nuclear power is part of RWE’s generation strategy. “And that means that there is naturally an interest in locations in Britain,” RWE’s management-board member Ulrich Jobs told reporters on Wednesday.

The comment from Jobs came as French competitor EDF (EDF.PA) looked set to acquire British Energy BGY.L, which operates eight nuclear power plants and is at the centre of UK government plans to build new ones.

EDF launched a 12.5 billion-pound ($23.23 billion) agreed offer for British Energy on Wednesday, adjusting its previous bid to control Britain’s nuclear power industry after months of wrangling.

RWE’s Jobs declined to comment on whether there are concrete talks regarding its potential involvement in new UK nuclear power plants, after the British government gave the green light in January to building a new generation of plants.

RWE Chief Executive Juergen Grossmann had said in the past that he would not take a majority stake in British Energy, declining to be more specific.

On Wednesday Jobs also remained silent on how it plans to revive its involvement in Russia after dropping its plans to take over power provider TGK-2.

“We are in talks with strong Russian companies,” Jobs said, declining to name any.

In its home market the utility plans to make up for the first-half loss of 200,000 household customers by the end of the year, but at a cost of winning more customers at loss-making Internet-based discount brand Eprimo.

Eprimo will help RWE keep its overall retail customer number stable, but the unit will break even in two years at the earliest, Jobs said.

Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Peter Dinkloh; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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