§ Mr. Wakeham
The Government welcome the opportunity which privatisation of the electricity supply industry provides for employees to become shareholders in the new companies.
Employees will be offered free shares to a fully paid value of about £140, plus shares at a fully paid value of about £2 for every year of continuous service in the electricity supply industry up to a date close to flotation.
Employees will also be offered two free fully paid shares for every share bought at the offer price on a matching basis up to a maximum fully paid value of about £440 worth of free shares. Under this element of the package, if an employee bought shares with a fully paid value of £220, he would receive free shares to a fully paid value of £440.
Employees will be able to buy shares up to a maximum fully paid value of about £1,250 of additional shares at a discount of 20 per cent. from the offer price.
Employees applying for shares will be treated on a priority basis, over the general public, up to an individual fully paid limit of shares worth about £15,000. This may be subject to scaling down if the number of shares in any one company applied for by employees and pensioners exceeds a prescribed proportion of the total number of shares on offer.
The free and matching shares will be available to employees who satisfy certain minimum qualification periods on length of employment and hours worked per week. The discount and priority shares will be available to each person employed in the electricity industry at a date close to the flotation date.
We have also decided that pensioners of the companies should be able to apply on a priority basis, over the general public, for shares up to a fully paid limit of about £15,000, subject to any necessary scaling down.
We have also made special arrangements for employees of the National Grid Company, the Electricity Association and Nuclear Electric which will not be floated on the stock exchange. National Grid Company employees and Electricity Association employees will receive offers on terms similar to those of the RECs' employees, but in all 12 of the regional electricity companies; Nuclear Electric employees will receive offers for shares in National Power, also on similar terms.
I announced yesterday, in my statement on PowerGen, that in the event of a trade sale arrangements would also be made for PowerGen employees to receive benefits broadly comparable in financial terms.
Further details of the share offer arrangements will be made available to employees and pensioners in due course, including those resulting from Inland Revenue, stock exchange and other requirements applying to these offers.174W
§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list those companies which have approached him regarding a trade sale of any part or subsidiary of any of the electricity generating or distribution companies.
§ Mr. Baldry
I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend's statement yesterday,Official Report, columns 39–51.
§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he has had with the quotations committee of the international stock exchange regarding exemptions for each or any of the electricity supply industry companies from the minimum three-year profit and loss account track record before flotation.