EDF Energy has completed a major e-procurement project in the UK, ahead of an imminent integration project with British Energy, which it is in the process of acquiring.

It said the project, first run in the company’s main market, France, was set to deliver savings after being rolled out to 4,000 users there.

The energy company, which is taking over British Energy for £12.4 billion, said links had been set up with 12,200 suppliers since the e-procurement project began in France in April 2006. The portal handles £5.9 billion of purchasing each year, including purchases of engineering materials and IT.

The company has installed BravoSolution eSourcing software, which covers the entire purchasing process, from setting requirements to signing contracts. This includes processes such as selecting suppliers, making online enquiries and keeping track of developments.

The portal also enables EDF to receive automated reports following invitations to tender, as well as enabling it to reduce the use of paper. Some 24,300 enquiries have been made since the portal opened.

By simplifying procurement processes, EDF said it would be easier to integrate that information with other management software.

Yves Vignoles, head of information system purchasing at the company, said EDF expected a return on investment in “under a year".

The company worked with services supplier Capgemini to train staff, having completed a major SAP rollout with the firm.

If it succeeds in its takeover of British Energy - the move is currently undergoing regulatory scrutiny - EDF is expected to kick off a major IT integration project.

Capgemini is an IT service provider to both EDF and British Energy, the latter of which is mid-way through a £20 million, five-year outsourcing contract with the firm.

British Energy uses Oracle financial and HR software, and Microsoft Windows Server software running on HP ProLiant servers. It also has large HP Storageworks storage arrays.

EDF uses Oracle HR software as well as SAP customer relationship management, and like British Energy it runs its servers on Microsoft Windows Server software. It uses Microsoft Visual Studio for software development.

EDF expects to achieve cost savings of over €200 million (£159 million), of which IT will play a part, through the acquisition. Some €160 million of the savings will come from supply chain efficiency, economies of scale and process standardisation, and around €40 million in trading efficiency improvements