June 21, 2018 / 5:38 PM / 2 months ago

France will not split up utility EDF: APE's Vial

PARIS (Reuters) - France has no intention of splitting up state-controlled utility EDF (EDF.PA) into a nuclear and a non-nuclear unit, the head of state holding company APE said on Thursday.

Asked on BFM Business radio about media reports citing plans to split off EDF’s nuclear business into a separate unit, APE chief Martin Vial said there were no such plans.

“This option, ... about which there are rumours coming from bankers, is not on the agenda,” he said.

Sources have told Reuters the finance ministry has studied several scenarios for restructuring EDF, including spinning off its nuclear power generation into a standalone unit.

EDF shares closed 5.3 percent higher on Thursday, with traders citing renewed speculation of a possible separation between the company’s nuclear power arm and its renewable energy division as the reason for the stock’s rise.

One trader in Geneva said that EDF - which is 81.2 percent state-owned - was rising on the back of a report in French business magazine Challenges which said the government was considering splitting the company’s renewables and nuclear arms.

A Paris-based trader said that comments by French environment minister Nicolas Hulot on France Info radio on Thursday, in which Hulot criticised EDF’s focus on its nuclear power business, also fed speculation about the government wanting to split off EDF’s nuclear activities.

Officials at the finance ministry and the president’s office declined to comment on the issue.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Michel Rose

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