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Government completes British Energy sale

The government today confirmed the sale of £2.3bn worth of shares in the nuclear energy producer British Energy (BE).
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling issued a statement to the House of Commons this morning, confirming the sale. He said that money raised would be invested in the decommissioning of BE nuclear power stations.The shares were held by the Nuclear Liabilities Fund (NLF), which was created in 2005 to hold '£275M in company bonds and the contractural right to receive a proportion of the company's annual adjusted free cash flow,' according to Mr Darling. LBF can then convert this 'cash sweep' into shares which can be sold.The government wanted to, 'Diversify the NLF's assets, of which 87% had been linked to BE, and therefore reduce the level of risk in its investment,' said Mr Darling.The sale now reduced the government's stake in BE from 64% to 36%. Mr Darling said that the government intended to maintain a 'strategic interest' of at least 29.9% in BE, but would not make any further sales in BE shares for another 90 days.

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