French Financial Markets Authority fines EDF over Hinkley point C

6 August 2020

In its decision of 28 July 2020, France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) Enforcement Committee fined EDF €5 million ($5.9m) for disseminating false information in a news release in October 2014. It also imposed a fine of €50,000 on former EDF Chairman and CEO Henri Proglio. However, it dismissed a breach alleged against EDF of failing to disclose insider information promptly, and cleared its current Chairman and CEO of this charge.

After acquiring British Energy in 2009, EDF launched a construction project for a nuclear plant with two European pressurised reactors (EPRs) at the Hinkley Point C site in Somerset in the UK. In October 2013, EDF announced an agreement with the British government on the key commercial terms of the contracts relating to the project, including the confirmation that the project would receive a financing guarantee from the British government, according to terms and conditions to be defined.

However, in the October 2014 announcing European Commission approval of the agreement under State aid rules, EDF said, "the main elements of the agreements of October 2013 remained unchanged […]". The Enforcement Committee found that there had in fact been significant changes to the financing plan by guaranteed debt, and that  EDF had therefore “disseminated false information likely to set the share price at an abnormal or artificial level”. The Enforcement Committee, which is made up of judges and professionals and has total freedom to make decisions, said an appeal may be lodged against this decision.

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