That alone could defeat attempts to reverse-engineer the financial workings of the players involved. But there's much more for the observer to contend with:
- many of the costs are socialised, de facto if not de jure;
- the investments are 'strategic', so normal commercial considerations don't apply;
- there are few data-points - the dealings are highly secret;
- the players are all inveterate liars.
The corporate aspects are easy. Iberdrola, as we have long been pointing out, is up the proverbial shitty creek - so no surprises there. (If they sell Scottish Power next, no-one can claim they weren't told). On the other hand Toshiba is up to its neck in the radioactive waters of another creek, and must find non-Japanese outlets for its product.
But what does the de minimis amount of £85m betoken ? It's chicken-feed, almost a free option: the land alone must be worth that. E.on and RWE each wrote off more than that in sunk costs when they pulled out of the Horizon JV. Is it so low because ...
- Iberdrola are really, really desperate ?
- the EDF deal doesn't look so rosy from close-up ?
- Toshiba don't think they'll get a deal as good as EDF's ?
- Toshiba don't think the EU review of the EDF deal is in the bag ?
- there is a further consideration for the shares we haven't been told about ?
- Iberdrola are offloading some nasty liabilities ?
- very little engineering has actually been done by NuGen ?
- the Toshiba design is nowhere in the UK permitting process ?