Macron says EDF to decide in Sept on UK nuclear plants - paper

The logo of France's state-owned electricity company EDF is seen next to the Electricite de France (EDF) thermal electricity production plant in Cordemais, France, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

PARIS (Reuters) - French state-controlled utility EDF will delay the final investment decision on its project to build two nuclear plants in Britain until September, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said in a newspaper interview.

Macron, who had told parliament last month the decision on the 18 billion pound (22.60 billion euro) Hinkley Point project in Britain would be taken in early May, told the Journal du Dimanche three conditions were necessary for it to be given the go-ahead.

The strengthening of EDF’s financial situation, which would be assured by a 4 billion euro ($4.5 billion) capital increase announced on Friday, a consultation of trade unions, and unspecified measures to ensure the operational execution of the plants’ construction.

The construction of other EPR nuclear reactors, in France and Finland, is billions of euros over budget and years beyond schedule.

“The final investment decision could be confirmed next September,” he was quoted as saying in the comments published in Sunday’s edition of the newspaper.

Macron said France would fund EDF’s capital increase thanks to the sale of government stakes in other companies. He cited the ongoing process to privatise two regional airports.

He also noted that France was sitting on a potential capital gain of hundreds of million euros on the 14 percent stake in the Peugeot Citroen carmaker it acquired a few years ago.

Reporting by Michel Rose