§ Mr. Llew Smith
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the bidders for British Coal's mining assets; which were successful; and if he will make a statement on the criteria adopted in choosing the preferred bidders.
§ Mr. Eggar
The names of the bidders for the five regional coal companies and the care and maintenance collieries are commercially confidential. Preferred bidders were announced on Wednesday 12 October. They are:
- R J B Mining plc for Central North, Central South and North
- East Regional Coal Companies and Thorne and Ellington Care
- and Maintenance Collieries;
- Celtic Energy Limited for South Wales;
- Mining (Scotland) Limited for Scotland;
- Coal Investment plc for Annesley Bentinck Colliery; and
- Tower Employee Buyout Team for Tower Colliery.
All bids were carefully considered on their merits. Our aim has been to privatise British Coal in a way which achieves the largest economically viable industry while ensuring that the taxpayer obtains value for money.