European Regulator Says No Political Support For Sale Of Retail Customer Book, Other Assets
Ørsted’s said in a news release that, "the Danish Ministry of Finance has now informed Ørsted that there is no longer political support for continuing the structured divestment process," under which Ørsted has proposed to sell its Danish residential retail energy business, in addition to selling its Danish power distribution and the City Light business.
The residential business sells electricity to approximately 733,000 customers in Denmark's restructured electric market and gas to approximately 91,000 customers. Approximately 40,000 gas customer’s boilers are serviced.
As previously reported, Ørsted's Board of Directors had initiated a structured divestment process with a view to finding a new owner for the businesses listed above after having discussed this with the Danish State, Ørsted's majority shareholder. "All interested bidders were invited to take part in the process. The criteria for a transaction were to achieve a good price and satisfactory terms of sale as well as a buyer who would carry on business in a responsible manner," Ørsted said
"In this context, Ørsted defined a number of criteria that a buyer would have to meet. These criteria are based on international guidelines for responsible business operations, including the fields of tax legislation, international sanctions, money laundering legislation and anti-corruption legislation. It was expected that the Board, with support from the shareholders, would decide on a possible divestment before the end of the first half of 2019," Ørsted said
"The group of possible buyers has now been limited to a small number of potential buyers, which all meet the buyer criteria. The potential buyer group covers only pension funds and utility companies from Denmark and Western OECD countries, who all have extensive experience in owning and operating infrastructure and similar activities in Western Europe," Ørsted said
"To Ørsted’s surprise, the Danish Ministry of Finance has now informed Ørsted that there is no longer political support for continuing the structured divestment process," Ørsted said
"It is still Ørsted’s assessment that it is in the best interest of the company, the shareholders and the customers that the ownership of the power distribution business, the residential customer business for power and gas and the city light business is transferred to another owner. Ørsted's Board of Directors will now assess the situation and discuss the next steps," Ørsted said