Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Overseas politics could affect energy merger

Elections in Spain this weekend could end up having an impact -- albeit indirect -- on Iberdrola SA's $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp.

Energy East has 1.4 million customers in upstate New York, including 45,000 in the Capital Region. Approval of the merger is before the state Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in New York.

Parliamentary elections are being held Sunday in Spain. The results will determine which party -- the ruling Socialists or the conservative Popular Party -- take control.

The Wall Street Journal reported in Monday's edition that the Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has hinted "that he is open to a takeover" of Iberdrola by Electricite de France -- something that has worried PSC staff members.

The Journal says that the Popular Party is "radically against" such a takeover.

Staff at the PSC, which are currently engaged in closed-door settlement talks with Iberdrola, have voiced concerns in the past that the Spanish utility has become the subject of takeover rumors in Europe.

(click to read entire article)

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