§ Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a further statement about the privatisation of British Gas.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
[pursuant to his reply, 21 November 1986, c 352]: I am delighted that more than 5 million people have applied to become shareholders in British Gas plc. More than 4½ million applications have been received, and more than half a million of these were in joint names. British Gas will have the largest number of shareholders of any company in the world.
The United Kingdom public offer was four times subscribed, with applications for 6.6 billion shares being received. Because of this heavy demand, allocations to financial institutions and overseas have been scaled down so that 64 per cent. of the shares could be made available to the British public. Offerings of British Gas shares in the United States, Europe, Japan and Canada are now taking place.
Everyone who submitted a valid application will receive an allocation of shares. All those who made valid applications for 400 shares or less will receive all the shares they applied for. Details of the scaling down of higher levels of applications are shown in the table.
There has been a particularly heavy demand for shares from employees and pensioners of British Gas: 85,000 employees, some 99 per cent. of those eligible, are now shareholders in the company. Customers of British Gas have been given preference in the allocation of shares.
Number of shares applied for Number of shares allocated General public application Customer share scheme application (green form) 100 100 100 200 200 200 300 300 300
Number of shares applied for Number of shares allocated General public application Customer share scheme application (green form) 400 400 400 500–700 400 500 800–1,000 500 600 1,500 600 800 2,000 800 1,000 2,500 1,000 1,200 3,000–5,000 1,200 1,400 6,000–10,000 1,400 1,600 15,000–100,000 10 per cent. 10 per cent. plus 300 150,000 or over 7 per cent. 7 per cent. plus 300