EDF has no comment on report about UK nuclear plants sale

FILE PHOTO - The logo of Electricite de France SA (EDF) is pictured at the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE), the trade fair event for the global nuclear community in Villepinte near Paris, France, June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - French state-controlled utility EDF EDF.PA declined to comment on whether it would be willing to sell part of its 80 percent stake in Britain's nuclear plants, following a UK newspaper report about Chinese interest in buying a large minority stake.

The Sunday Times reported that China General Nuclear (CGN) was in early-stage talks with EDF Energy and its partner Centrica CNA.L about acquiring a share of up to 49 percent in Britain's fleet of eight power stations.

In response to the article, a CGN spokeswoman told Reuters the company “has not yet carried out any formal work on such a matter”.

Centrica said in June it planned to sell its 20 percent stake in the UK nuclear power plants by the end of 2020.

An EDF spokesman on Monday declined to say whether the French utility would be willing to reduce its stake.

EDF’s British business EDF Energy owns and operates 15 nuclear reactors in eight nuclear power stations with a total capacity of 8.9 gigawatts, which generate about 20 percent of Britain’s electricity.

Since 2009, Centrica has held a 20 percent stake in Lake Acquisitions Ltd, which holds EDF’s operating UK nuclear generation assets but not its nuclear newbuild projects.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; additional reporting by Nina Chestney in London; Editing by Brian Love and Jane Merriman