Dutch APX acquires EnMo gas exchange

4 July 2003 – EnMo, the on-the-day gas commodity market owned by National Grid Transco, has been sold to Dutch power exchange Amsterdam Power Exchange (APX) for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced Wednesday.

At a press briefing Thursday, APX C.E.O. Pieter Verberne said that the cash transaction had been funded by parent company TenneT, the state-owned transmission system operator in the Netherlands. He said discussions with EnMo had begun in January, shortly before APX made its first UK acquisition, the UK power exchange APX UK. EnMo has recently entered into a four-year deal with Transco covering gas sales.

Martin Thomas, MD of EnMo welcomed the deal saying that EnMo had found a partner who would retain the confidence of both regulators and subscribers. “We didn’t want to compromise the independence of EnMo by selling to a trader,” he said. “Those customers who have commented on the deal have viewed it favourably,” said Thomas. He said that a number of parties had been interested in EnMO.

The two exchanges will operate independently initially and there is no plan to introduce new screens for EnMo traders.

APX trades €390m ($448m) of electricity in the Dutch market, representing about 15 per cent of the country’s net power demand. EnMo’s internet-based trading exchange accounts for approximately 2/3 of all UK within gas trading amounting to €760m. “APX and EnMo customers, many of whom are active in both commodities, will benefit from our combined expertise and infrastructure. This move opens up the way for us to develop new, multi-commodity, multi-market product and services to better meet the evolving needs of the market,” said Verberne.

Verberne admitted that liberalisation of the Dutch gas market was still at an early stage at that a gas trading market in Holland was some way off. He said that the lack of third party access or regulator would need to be addressed among other matters.

APX also said it aims to launch an electricity bourse in Belgium before the end of the year, in a joint project with Belgian electricity grid Elia, following a jointly funded study. APX said the proposed Brussels Power Exchange would run a 24-hour spot auction that would be linked to the existing APX spot market. APX said that prices on the two exchanges would be the same provided there was no congestion on the transmission wires linking the two countries.

Verberne said the long term opportunities existed for trading within and across European markets but that at present APX’s goal was the UK, Dutch and Belgium markets.