Exelon considers bid for troubled nuclear plant

By Reuters
Posted Nov. 4, 2010 at 5:21 p.m.

Power utility Entergy Corp. said it was exploring the sale of its 605-megawatt nuclear plant in Vermont, months after the state Senate voted to shut it in 2012 due to pollution issues.

Vermont politics could, however, complicate any potential sale. Earlier this year, the state Senate voted overwhelmingly to shut the reactor and the person heading that effort is now the unofficial Governor-elect Peter Shumlin, a Democrat.

Analyst Brian Chin said the likely bidders could include other nuclear operators like Exelon Corp., NextEra Energy Inc. and Constellation Energy Group Inc.

Entergy said while no decision had been made to sell the plant, which it bought from the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp eight years ago, it expects interest from “multiple” parties.

“We will aggressively negotiate with buyers for extension of employment to all current employees as a condition of any sale,” New Orleans-based Entergy said about the plant with a workforce of 650.

Citigroup analysts estimated the plant, which the brokerage valued at roughly $670 million, contributes about 30 cents to Entergy’s full-year earnings per share.

“Expectations are currently low for the company. We do not think investors were expecting Entergy to formally announce a possible sale at this point,” Chin wrote in a note.

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