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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 21:38 GMT
British Energy 'given bigger loan'
British Energy plant
British Energy underwent financial restructuring in October
Troubled energy group British Energy says the government has agreed to increase its current 200m loan ($340) to 275m ($471m).

The firm blamed the unexpected closure of Sizewell B and Heysham 1 nuclear power stations for its cash problems - saying the action would hit its income.

In September, the firm said it had used up 106m of its current loan.

This week it asked for 100m more after warning it was "facing short-term pressures on liquidity".

'Financial flexibility'

No-one from the UK's Department of Trade and Industry was available to confirm the extended loan.

British Energy said in a statement: "Taken together with other initiatives, this temporary increase in the government facility will provide the company with additional financial flexibility."

It said the temporary increase in the loan would only be available until 22 February, 2004, or until the receipt of proceeds from the sale of its 50% stake in U.S. company AmerGen Energy Co.

Two weeks ago, the firm which produces a fifth of the UK's power, warned that the financial impact of the reactor closures would be much more than the original estimates of 20m-30m.

Experts predict the outages could cost as much as 50m.

Longer shutdowns

At Heysham 1, in Lancashire, both reactors were shut down on 28 October following the failure of a sea water cooling pipe.

The site is now set to remain offline until the middle of December - three weeks longer than originally expected.

Meanwhile, when Sizewell B in Suffolk was shut down for routine maintenance, a suspected "anomaly" was found.

More tests at the plant revealed there was no anomaly, but it meant the site was closed for two weeks longer than the normal shutdown for maintenance.

British Energy's biggest plant is at Hartlepool, with others at Hinkley Point, Somerset; Hunterston, Ayrshire; Dungeness, Kent; and Torness, East Lothian.




SEE ALSO:
British Energy demands more cash
26 Nov 03  |  Business
Reactor delay hits British Energy
13 Nov 03  |  Business
British Energy clinches debt deal
01 Oct 03  |  Business
British Energy future uncertain
30 Sep 03  |  Business
British Energy sells US stake
12 Sep 03  |  Business
British Energy deep in the red
03 Jun 03  |  Business


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