Business news in brief: ScottishPower| ENRC| Nats| Petroceltic

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FORMER ScottishPower chief executive Ian Russell has been appointed as a non-executive director at HICL, the first infrastructure investment company to list in London.

Russell, who is chairman of Scotsman-owner Johnston Press, was chief executive of the utility firm between 2001 and 2006.

HICL, which floated in 2006, also named Standard Life Investments Property & Income Trust director Sally-Ann Farnon as a non-executive director.

The firm has 79 investments, including the A92 and M80 roads, the Glasgow Hospital and school-building projects for seven Scottish local councils.

Oligarch founders eyeing bid for ENRC

The founders of London-listed miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) are considering a buyout of the company.

Alexander Machkevitch, a reclusive billionaire who alone owns 14.6 per cent of the firm, said he is reviewing opportunities, including forming a bid consortium with fellow co-founders Alijan Ibragimov, Patokh Chodiev and the Kazakh government.

Together, the possible consortium owns more than 55 per cent of the company, which had seen its share price slump recently.

Nats stake eyed by Irish air traffic firm

Ireland’s air traffic control operator has expressed an interest in buying a stake in its UK counterpart, the National Air Traffic Services (Nats).

The UK government owns 49 per cent of Nats, which is valued at about £1 billion, with a consortium of seven firms owning a further 42 per cent. Sources said consortium members Thomas Cook and Tui plan to sell a 12 per cent stake.

The Irish Aviation Authority said it was interested in “formalising its partnership with Nats via the current share sale, but no final decisions have yet been made”.

Egypt gas licences won by Petroceltic

PETROCELTIC, the Aim-quoted oil driller that bought Edinburgh-based Melrose Resources last year, yesterday revealed that its joint venture with Edison International has been awarded two licences to drill for gas in Egypt.

The North Thekah block is in the Nile Delta and “potentially contains an extension of the Levantine Basin exploration play, which has already yielded some giant discoveries in the region”, the company said.

The South Idku block is “located in Petroceltic’s core Egyptian operating area, onshore the Nile Delta”.