Thursday, November 03, 2005

France's EDF wants to build nuclear power stations in UK

Independent Online Edition > Business News

By Michael Harrison
Published: 02 November 2005
The state-owned French power company Electricité de France would be keen to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK if Tony Blair gives the go-ahead to such a programme, its chief executive Pierre Gadonneix said yesterday.

Speaking in London as the roadshow began for EDF's €7bn (£5bn) share offer later this month, M. Gadonneix said he would "certainly" be interested in financing, constructing and operating new reactors. But he added that it was a sensitive topic and the UK government would first have to secure public support for a new nuclear programme. "We are keen to co-operate in making government and public acceptance as wide as possible," M. Gadonneix added.

EDF's head of UK operations, Vincent de Rivaz, is due to set out the French company's proposals in more detail when he gives evidence today before the Commons environmental audit committee. M. de Rivaz is expected to spell out how a new nuclear programme could be funded and what kind of guarantees would be needed to encourage private investment.

EDF is the world's biggest nuclear electricity generator and it has the world's youngest fleet of stations. The group operates 58 reactors across 19 locations, accounting for 17 per cent of global nuclear capacity. Three-quarters of its output is nuclear and it has 42 million customers worldwide, including 28 million in France.

M. Gadonneix said EDF planned €28bn of expenditure between 2006 and 2008 of which €8bn would be devoted to acquisitions and development of the group. EDF also said that once it became a publicly listed company it would have the ability to finance acquisitions by issuing shares.

In the UK, the group owns London Electricity and Seeboard and has 5 million customers. It is the country's biggest distributor of electricity with three local grids. Asked whether EDF was interested in further UK acquisitions, M. Gadonneix said: "Never say never but at the moment we have no specific plans."

The French government is selling off a 15 per cent stake in EDF. About 35 per cent of the shares will be reserved for retail investors in France and Japan, a further 15 per cent will be allocated to staff and the remaining 50 per cent will be sold to institutional investors around the world. Its shares will be priced in a range from €29.5 to €34.1 and trading is due to begin on the Euronext Paris exchange on 21 November.

The state-owned French power company Electricité de France would be keen to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK if Tony Blair gives the go-ahead to such a programme, its chief executive Pierre Gadonneix said yesterday.

Speaking in London as the roadshow began for EDF's €7bn (£5bn) share offer later this month, M. Gadonneix said he would "certainly" be interested in financing, constructing and operating new reactors. But he added that it was a sensitive topic and the UK government would first have to secure public support for a new nuclear programme. "We are keen to co-operate in making government and public acceptance as wide as possible," M. Gadonneix added.

EDF's head of UK operations, Vincent de Rivaz, is due to set out the French company's proposals in more detail when he gives evidence today before the Commons environmental audit committee. M. de Rivaz is expected to spell out how a new nuclear programme could be funded and what kind of guarantees would be needed to encourage private investment.

EDF is the world's biggest nuclear electricity generator and it has the world's youngest fleet of stations. The group operates 58 reactors across 19 locations, accounting for 17 per cent of global nuclear capacity. Three-quarters of its output is nuclear and it has 42 million customers worldwide, including 28 million in France.
M. Gadonneix said EDF planned €28bn of expenditure between 2006 and 2008 of which €8bn would be devoted to acquisitions and development of the group. EDF also said that once it became a publicly listed company it would have the ability to finance acquisitions by issuing shares.

In the UK, the group owns London Electricity and Seeboard and has 5 million customers. It is the country's biggest distributor of electricity with three local grids. Asked whether EDF was interested in further UK acquisitions, M. Gadonneix said: "Never say never but at the moment we have no specific plans."

The French government is selling off a 15 per cent stake in EDF. About 35 per cent of the shares will be reserved for retail investors in France and Japan, a further 15 per cent will be allocated to staff and the remaining 50 per cent will be sold to institutional investors around the world. Its shares will be priced in a range from €29.5 to €34.1 and trading is due to begin on the Euronext Paris exchange on 21 November.

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