PPL selling UK assets and focusing purely on U.S. utility biz

Pennsylvania-based PPL Corp. wants to sell its United Kingdom utility business and focus on its U.S. operations.

PPL’s plan to be a pure U.S. utility holding company was announced after its board of directors completed a strategic review looking into business mix and future growth opportunities.

PPL expects to find a strong buyer for its Western Power Distribution subsidiary in the UK.

“WPD is a very strong business that continues to perform exceptionally well as the premier distribution network operator (DNO) group in the U.K., but we believe it continues to be undervalued by the market as part of PPL,” Vincent Sorgi, PPL CEO, said in a statement. “We believe that greater value can be achieved for PPL shareowners through a sale of the U.K. business and use of proceeds that would be focused on strengthening PPL’s balance sheet and enhancing the company’s long-term earnings growth, which could include supporting strategic growth opportunities in the U.S. and returning capital to shareowners.”

The divestment of WPD will simplify PPL’s business mix, Sorgi added. The revenue from a sale will provide greater financial flexibility for investing in U.S. energy infrastructure buildout.

WPD, serves about eight million customers in central and southwest England and south Wales. PPL’s utilities also provide power to several million customers in the U.S.

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