HC Deb 09 February 1998 vol 306 cc99-100W
Dr. Gibson

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what methods she will use to examine bids for the Energy Group by (a) Nomura International and (b) Texas Utilities; if she will refer the bids to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission; and if she will make a statement. [28336]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths

Nomura International and Texas Utilities have separately announced publicly that each is in talks with The Energy Group which may lead to a bid for the Energy Group. Should either company make a bid, it will be necessary to establish which competition authorities have jurisdiction. If and to the extent that any bid falls to be considered under the Fair Trading Act 1973, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will decide, in the light of the advice of the Director General of Fair Trading and the views of the Director General of Electricity Supply, whether or not to refer the bid to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) for investigation. She has said that her general policy continues to be to refer mergers primarily on competition grounds, but that where, as part of a wider public interest scrutiny, important regulatory issues are raised, she may decide that a reference is warranted. Each case is considered on its merits.

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