Npower’s continued inability to contribute to the coffers of parent RWE looks likely to move them up the cost saving and asset disposal list.
As RWE struggle to come to grips with the phase-out of nuclear energy in 2022, net debt of over £24 billion, a less than anticipated return on a recent share sale, loss-making long-term gas deals and its failure to setup a joint venture with Gazprom for the takeover of all European generation including the UK, it doesn’t bode well.
Indeed Npower might still make an attractive proposition for some. Whilst it is probably the worst performer in the portfolio in terms of ROCE (return on capital employed), Npower generates operating profits in excess of £309 million in the six months leading up to July 2011.
Whilst RWE has stated an intention to dispose of €8 billion of assets by 2013, the question is who might be in the market?
Npower’s current PR record might take the edge off for some prospective enquirers and there are many energy players around who could buy them without coming up against the Competition authorities.
So whilst a Boxing day bargain is unlikely, watch this space.