On 26 June 2018, Ørsted announced that the company initiated a structured divestment process for the Danish power distribution business, the residential customer business for power and gas and the city light business.
These businesses are all well-run and have a high customer satisfaction, but in future, they are expected to decrease in strategic and financial importance for the Group concurrently with Ørsted’s significant international growth within green energy. In 2017, the mentioned businesses accounted for 5.6% of Ørsted’s total operating profit.
On 26 June 2018, Ørsted's Board of Directors therefore decided to initiate a structured divestment process with a view to finding a new owner for these businesses after having discussed this with the Danish State, Ørsted's majority shareholder. All interested bidders were invited to take part in the process. The criteria for a transaction were to achieve a good price and satisfactory terms of sale as well as a buyer who would carry on business in a responsible manner.
In this context, Ørsted defined a number of criteria that a buyer would have to meet. These criteria are based on international guidelines for responsible business operations, including the fields of tax legislation, international sanctions, money laundering legislation and anti-corruption legislation. It was expected that the Board, with support from the shareholders, would decide on a possible divestment before the end of the first half of 2019.
The group of possible buyers has now been limited to a small number of potential buyers, which all meet the buyer criteria. The potential buyer group covers only pension funds and utility companies from Denmark and Western OECD countries, who all have extensive experience in owning and operating infrastructure and similar activities in Western Europe.
To Ørsted’s surprise, the Danish Ministry of Finance has now informed Ørsted that there is no longer political support for continuing the structured divestment process.
It is still Ørsted’s assessment that it is in the best interest of the company, the shareholders and the customers that the ownership of the power distribution business, the residential customer business for power and gas and the city light business is transferred to another owner.
Ørsted's Board of Directors will now assess the situation and discuss the next steps.
The information provided in this announcement does not change Ørsted’s previously announced outlook for the 2018 financial year.
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