PARIS, June 20 (Reuters) - Employee shareholders at French utility EDF EDF.PA have criticised the extension of the group's special discount business rate and called for its withdrawal, French newspaper La Tribune said on Friday.
The business tariff allows certain companies who chose a market-based rate to receive cheaper electricity supply for a temporary period. It was expected to finish at the end of 2008 but French ministers voted to prolong it to July 2010.
The French paper said the EDF Employee Shareholders (EAS) group and the Minority Shareholders Defence Association (ADAM) had written to the French government decrying the extension.
"All EDF shareholders dread the negative impact of such events on the group's competitiveness and on its share price. This adds to the current competitive atmosphere resulting from the Suez LYOE.PA and Gaz de France GAZ.PA merger," they wrote.
“Other measures which are compatible with both the interests of customers and with the financial direction demanded by EDF have not been considered,” EAS and ADAM told the French daily.
“They went for the easy solution which allows the state to use its power to impose on a group in which it is a majority shareholder a measure which neither fits with the interest of EDF nor with that of its shareholders,” they added.
EAS estimated the business rate reduced EDF’s profit by 1.5 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in 2006-2007, La Tribune said. (Reporting by Jessica Mead and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by David Holmes)
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