The French State is committed to supporting EDF – Le Maire

A flag with the logo of the company Electricite de France (EDF) and a French flag flies next to the EDF power plant in Bouchain, near Valenciennes, France, September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

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  • EDF is “the pride of the French”
  • Norway SWF, a shareholder, examines the impact of the decision
  • Unions call for strike
  • Nuclear watchdog says industry may need a ‘Marshall Plan’

PARIS, Jan 19 (Reuters) – The French state has pledged to support EDF (EDF.PA) and will support the company in the face of difficulties due to French political measures aimed at limiting the rise in electricity prices for consumers, the French finance minister said on Wednesday. .

Bruno Le Maire’s comments came a week after President Emmanuel Macron’s government – facing a re-election battle in three months – ordered the utility to sell more cheap nuclear power to rivals, prompting the SOE CEO to openly criticize the government. Read more

“If prices are low and less profitable, the state will be alongside EDF,” Le Maire told RMC radio.

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EDF’s main unions have called for a strike, adding to criticism from EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy, who called the latest government decision a “real shock” and announced measures to defend the interests of his business. Read more

The Mayor added on Wednesday that no member of EDF staff had to worry about his future.

“We will support this great public company which is the pride of the French,” he said.

“We will continue to invest in EDF because our objective is to build new nuclear reactors which, from a strategic point of view, are absolutely decisive for EDF.”

Le Maire’s comments came as the head of France’s nuclear watchdog warned on Wednesday that the sector may need a “Marshall plan” in order to implement planned new projects. Read more

France produces most of its electricity in aging nuclear reactors that have had to deal with repeated shutdowns. Some 18.9% of their generation capacity was offline on Monday according to a Reuters calculation, limiting supply amid record power prices.

The French state owns 84% ​​of EDF shares, which have lost nearly 40% of their value since October.

Norway’s $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund, EDF’s sixth-largest shareholder according to Refinitiv Eikon data, told Reuters it was “looking into how this would affect us as a minority shareholder”, without giving details.

The fund, which generally refrains from commenting on its individual investments, held a 0.23% stake worth $112 million in the company at the end of 2020, according to the fund’s latest available data.

EDF forecast last week that the government’s decision would cut about 8 billion euros ($9.13 billion) from its 2022 base profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.

The blow came as EDF prepares to finance billion-dollar investments in new reactors that President Macron has said the country plans to build.

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Written by Tassilo Hummel and Gwladys Fouché; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and David Evans

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