E.ON has announced that it will sell its UK electricity power distribution business, Central Networks, to US-based PPL Corporation for £4bn ($6.5bn).

The purchase price includes an assumption of £500m ($813m) of existing debt.

Central Networks is the UK’s second largest electricity distributor. It operates the regional grid covering the Midlands, delivers power to more than five million customers through its 133,000km network of overhead and underground cables.

E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen said that Central Networks is a consistently high performing distribution business.

“However, after nine years of full ownership, the business offers E.ON limited value enhancement opportunities and, due to the strict regulation, there is no possibility to leverage synergies with other E.ON businesses in the UK, ” Teyssen said.

The sale proceeds form part of E.ON’s €15bn ($20.7bn) divestment target for the end of 2013.

E.ON purchased Central Networks East in 2002 as part of its takeover of Powergen. The company acquired Midlands Electricity in 2004, which was subsequently integrated with Central Networks East and rebranded as Central Networks.