On 24 November the French cabinet authorised the partial sale of stock in Electricité de France (EdF).
“The situation of EdF is fragile and requires strengthening the company’s equity,” finance minister Nicolas Sarkozy said as the cabinet told EdF chairman Pierre Gadonneix that between €9 and €11 billion of stock would be made available to private investors. The move was made possible by a change in the law made last year after pressure from the European Commission over the near-monopoly of the state-owned giant and the favourable operating conditions afforded to it by government.
The sale will take place in the second half of 2005, after similar sales have been made by Areva and Gaz de France. The government has pledged to retain 70% of the firm while France’s powerful unions have vehemently opposed any sale.
The extra capital will massage EdF’s balance sheet which is marred by debts of about €24 billion. The company is also being called upon to invest up to €1.2 billion each year in its nuclear operations.
- The French council of ministers confirmed that Pierre Gadonneix, who took over from Francis Roussely as EdF chairman in September will continue in the post.
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