Nearly a year after the government’s decision to renationalize EDF and despite the obstruction of small shareholders, the state again holds, since Thursday, 100% of the capital of the French electrician. The government will thus be able to relaunch nuclear power in France and reindustrialise the country.
“The State implemented today the procedure for the compulsory withdrawal of EDF capital securities,” said Bercy in a press release. The shareholders holding the 2% of the securities still in circulation were therefore forced to sell their shares at a price of 12 euros per share, i.e. 20 euros below the price of the initial public offering in 2005. now holds all of EDF’s capital and voting rights. The total cost of this operation was calculated at 9.7 billion euros according to Bruno Lemaire, the Minister of the Economy.
Accelerating the nuclear revival
The renationalisation, announced in July 2022, “was essential to allow EDF to carry out several decisive projects in an accelerated manner”, in particular that of increasing the production of the existing nuclear fleet, added the minister. “When we approach a period with so many energy challenges, […] the fact of having a single shareholder, obviously, makes it possible to have a complete alignment on a long-term vision”, supported Thursday the boss of EDF, Luc Rémont, during the annual congress of the French Union of the electricity (UFE).
Regaining full control of EDF will enable the government to accelerate the revival of nuclear power, with the announced construction of at least six new reactors. But, while waiting for the commissioning of these new units, at best in 2035-37, France and EDF will have to work hard to develop renewable energies and catch up with their European neighbors. A crucial issue for the country’s energy sovereignty while electricity consumption is expected to increase much faster than expected by 2035, with the raising of European climate objectives and the reindustrialization desired by the government.
An astronomical debt
With a record debt of 64.5 billion euros, announced during the presentation of its annual results for 2022, EDF has no financial leeway. This abysmal debt is, on the one hand, the consequence of historically low electricity production last year, and, on the other hand, the result of the company’s forced contribution to the “tariff shield” decided by the government. .
What to ask questions for the financing of the 51 billion euros necessary for the construction of the first six reactors of the EPR type. Questions to which the government has promised to answer by “the end of the year”.
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