Berlin Approves Split Ownership for City Utility
LCG, April 30, 2001The German city of Berlin on Friday approved a compromise negotiated between U.S. power company Mirant Corp., the former Southern Energy, and the utility of Hamburg, HEW, for the divided ownership of Berlin's electric utility Bewag.The Berlin senate said in a statement that Mayor Eberhard Diepgen, with his finance and economics senators, had successfully led discussions ending a nine-month impasse. "The conditions for the senate's approval were fulfilled through today's agreement," Diepgen said in the statement.The deal also lays the foundation for creation of a fourth major German utility. Eon, Germany's second-largest utility, had owned 49 percent of Bewag, but had to sell that stake to comply with European Commission conditions on the Veba-Viag merger which created Eon last year.Mirant, Swedish utility Vattenfall which is majority owner of HEW, East German power plant operator Veag, Bewag and coal mining firm Laubag are now expected to form a new utility with sufficient heft to rival Eon, the Berlin statement said.Mirant said in a statement of its own that it was ready to work with HEW and Vattenfall to create a new company. "Mirant and HEW/Vattenfall, through their joint leadership of Bewag, have a basis from which to form the new fourth power," Mirant's head of European operations Barney Rush said. "Bewag will play a significant role in this undertaking."
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