Polygon makes dual hire for British Energy battle

Hedge fund Polygon Investments has drafted in M Communications and Quintus Public Affairs as it fights to secure a better deal for shareholders in the wake of British Energy’s proposed financial restructuring.

M co-founder Nick Miles and Quintus MD Chris Guyver are advising the fund, which is opposing a restructuring package that British Energy agreed with bondholders last year.

The deal would give bondholders 97.5 per cent of British Energy through a debt-for-equity swap.

Polygon holds a 5.6 per cent stake in British Energy, which generates a fifth of the UK’s energy. The fund has jointly proposed an alternative package with fellow shareholder Invesco, which holds around six per cent of British Energy.

Under the Polygon-Invesco proposal, British Energy shareholders would receive a much larger stake in the restructured company of around 30 per cent, and bondholders would receive around £750m.

British Energy, which is advised by a Financial Dynamics team led by partner Andrew Dowler, has refused the plan and threatened to delist if shareholders refuse the deal it has agreed.

M’s and Quintus’s task is to whip up support among British Energy shareholders, around 40 per cent of whom are retail shareholders. They are also trying to speed up the closure of a loophole in UK listing rules that could allow British Energy to delist without consulting shareholders.

Falling wholesale energy prices sparked British Energy’s 2002 slide, with power stations at one point losing £5m per week.

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