LONDON (Reuters) - French utility EDF (EDF.PA) is considering the sale of its British gas and coal plants and has used Barclays bank to approach potential buyers, two sources familiar with the matter said.
EDF and Barclays both declined to comment.
Heavily indebted EDF wants to sell off non-core assets in order to invest tens of billions of euros in its nuclear power business over the next decade, including in the UK the nuclear reactor project at Hinkley Point.
Two sources said Barclays has approached potential buyers on behalf of EDF on an informal basis to gauge their interest in a possible sale of the assets.
The French company owns two coal power plants in Britain: Cottam and West Burton A, along with the West Burton B gas plant.
EDF also runs Britain’s nuclear power fleet but this was not part of the portfolio of assets being considered for sale.
Britain’s government wants to close coal-fired plants by 2025 unless they are fitted with technology to capture and store emissions.
However, analysts have said British coal plants could still be attractive in the short-term due to the country’s capacity auction which offers power generators payment to make sure they are available during times of peak demand over winter.
EDF’s two coal plants have secured contracts under the scheme from October 2018-September 2021, EDF Energy’s website said.
The West Burton B gas plant has also secured contracts under the scheme.
Last year EDF announced a review of its fossil-fuel fired power generation assets in continental Europe and fossil fuel production and sales outside France.
Earlier this month French newspaper Le Figaro said EDF plans to create a holding company through which it could sell a 50 percent stake in its French electricity transmission grid RTE.
Additional reporting by Geert De Clercq in Paris, editing by William Hardy