British energy giant Shell said on Tuesday it plans to sell its electricity and gas business to homes in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, following a strategic review launched in January. "This review is now complete and, therefore, we intend to divest ourselves of these businesses," Shell said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that "a sale process is already underway, with the intention of reaching an agreement with a potential buyer in the coming months." Shell, which does not disclose the amount at which the company was put up for sale, had cited in January "market conditions that have changed".
Energy distributors have been under pressure for several years and particularly for the past two years, with serial bankruptcies of suppliers in the UK, others having been absorbed or given a government bailout. With the post-Covid reopening of the economy and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, wholesale energy prices have soared, but suppliers are unable to pass on these increases quickly to consumers due to caps set by governments in the face of Europe's severe cost-of-living crisis.
'Nothing will change' for customers
Nothing will change for our customers during the sale process," Shell said on Tuesday, also saying it wanted to protect as many staff as possible in the transfer, while the announcement of the strategic review had raised fears for thousands of jobs. Shell Energy has some 2000,1 employees in the UK and powers 4.<> million homes across the country.
But neither the activities of wholesale to companies and energy supply to SMEs under the Shell Energy brand, nor those of energy sales to individuals outside Europe are concerned by this sale, the group said Tuesday. Questioned by AFP, Shell did not want to specify if potential buyers had declared, but Sky News had evoked at the end of March possible applications from suppliers Ovo Energy, Octopus or Centrica, parent company of British Gas.
Octopus said it did not wish to comment. Contacted, the other two energy companies cited did not respond immediately.