July 31, 2018 / 10:45 AM / 3 months ago

EDF does not rule out French state review of its structure

PARIS, July 31 (Reuters) - The French state may at some point want to review EDF’s corporate structure and the state-owned utility would work with the government if that were the case, said EDF chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy.

There has been regular speculation about possibly splitting EDF’s nuclear activities into a separate legal unit, but so far Levy had always just said that the group had not been asked to consider a review of its corporate structure.

Levy said the French state, as EDF’s majority shareholder, would always have first say as to whether the current structure of EDF’s assets was optimal for independence and security of French power supply, and help contribute to climate objectives.

“When the state looks at these objectives, including of course value creation, maybe the state will have at one point in time some thoughts regarding potential restructuring,” Levy said in reply to questions on an earnings call for analysts.

He added that at the moment the state had not asked EDF to look at any specific scenarios.

“EDF will of course work with the state at the time if it happens, eventually, were the state to decide to look at alternatives regarding EDF’s structure, but that is not the case today,” he said.

Sources told Reuters in November that the finance ministry was studying several scenarios for restructuring EDF, including spinning off its nuclear activities into a standalone unit.

In January, French Energy Minister Nicolas Hulot said the government had discussed the possibility of putting EDF’s nuclear activities in a separate legal unit, but added that nothing had been decided.

Martin Vial, the head of French state holding company APE, said in June that France has no intention of splitting up EDF into a nuclear and a non-nuclear unit.

The French state held 83.7 percent of EDF’s capital as of end-June. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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