Salem Radio Network News Thursday, August 11, 2022

Business

EDF seeks new CEO as France plans full nationalisation

PARIS (Reuters) -EDF and the French government on Thursday said the process of finding a new boss for the utility starts immediately, a day after the government announced its plan to fully renationalise the debt-laden power giant.

“The state and Jean-Bernard Levy have agreed to launch the succession process from now,” the French economy ministry, which manages the state’s 84% stake in EDF, said in a statement.

EDF confirmed the decision, adding in a separate statement that Levy, whose term officially ends in 2023, was prepared to step down as soon as a successor is found.

Asked on the ideal profile for the top job at EDF, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he was looking for somebody with a “sense for compromise”, referring to EDF’s need to navigate in a highly regulated environment while working with the utility’s strong unions.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Wednesday announced plans to fully nationalise EDF in a move that would give the government more control over restructuring the debt-laden group while contending with a European energy crisis.

Le Maire on Thursday rejected criticism that the government was nationalising the company at a time when it is likely to incur massive losses, hit by energy price caps and years of delays on new nuclear plants in France and Britain with budget overruns in the billions of euros.

“I deeply believe in EDF’s future,” Le Maire said

French budget minister Gabriel Attal earlier said it was too early to say how much full nationalisation of EDF would cost.

“This will depend on the company’s shares,” Attal told France 2 television, referring to the roughly 15% of the company traded on the stock market.

Buying the shares the government does not already own at the current prices would cost about 5 billion euros ($5.1 billion).

($1 = 0.9791 euros)

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel and Benoit Van OverstraetenEditing by Edmund Blair and David Goodman)

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