France begins nationalisation of power giant

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Electricite de France S.A. (EDF) logo is seen displayed on a tablet.
Electricite de France S.A. (EDF) logo is seen displayed on a tablet.
Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/L


France began on Tuesday the process of taking full control of EDF, the highly indebted power utility that is to spearhead efforts to relaunch the country's nuclear industry.

The state, which currently owns 84 percent of EDF, filed a takeover offer with the financial markets regulators, the first step in removing EDF's shares from the market.

The French government in July signalled its intention to fully reabsorb EDF.

It hopes the move will help re-instil confidence in the company, which has a 60-billion-euro debt, as the government wants to launch construction of six next-generation nuclear reactors.

The state is offering 12 euros per share, and if it takes its holding to 90%, it can force other shareholders to sell.

The entire operation will cost 9.7 billion euros.

After the 1970s energy shocks, France began a massive programme to build nuclear power plants, which eventually accounted for around three-quarters of electricity production.

But France's oldest reactors are reaching the end of their service lives and EDF's efforts to build a new generation of nuclear power plants has faced massive delays and cost overruns.


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