E.ON sees regulatory risks as British grid up for sale

FILE PHOTO: Electric car parking place with the charging stations is seen at the front of the German utility E.ON headquarters in Essen, Germany, May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF (Reuters) - E.ON EONGn.DE on Wednesday stopped short of expressing interest in the British networks unit that U.S. utility PPL PPL.N put up for sale earlier this week, pointing to the shaky regulatory environment in the country.

PPL on Monday said it had decided to launch a sales process for Western Power Distribution (WPD), which has a regulatory asset value of 7.7 billion pounds ($10.1 billion), adding it had hired JP Morgan JPM.N to run the process.

“Last year Mr (Jeremy) Corbyn wanted to nationalise these assets,” Teyssen said when asked whether E.ON would be interested, referring to respective proposals by the former Labour leader in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.

Teyssen also said that the next regulatory regime for Britain’s networks, which sets fixed investment returns for grid owners, would only be decided next year.

PPL said it aims for a deal in the first half of 2021.

"It's a deja vu for us," Teyssen said, adding E.ON previously owned part of the business before selling here it to PPL for 3.5 billion pounds in 2011.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz, Tom Kaeckenhoff and Vera Eckert; Editing by Michelle Martin