Italy's Edison seen in play as parent EDF nationalised

Electricite de France (EDF) headquarters is pictured at the La Defense business district in Paris, France, September 30, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

MILAN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The nationalisation of France's EDF (EDF.PA) has put its Italian unit Edison (EDNn.MI) under the spotlight, with funds and energy groups alert to the possibility that its parent company may part with the business, three sources said.

The French government said on Tuesday it planned to launch its offer to buy out EDF on Nov. 10, adding that the move would boost France's independence and energy sovereignty.

The nationalisation is expected to reduce the cost of funding for the nuclear power group which is involved in both an extraordinary maintenance plan for its existing reactors and a 50 billion euro investment plan to construct new ones.

Two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters EDF could raise as much as 8 billion euros to fund investments if it decided to sell its Italian subsidiary in the coming months.

Edison, which has been owned by EDF since 2012, produces and distributes electricity from traditional and renewable sources.

"If you look at recent deals involving Italian renewable energy groups, the value of Edison can be estimated at around 8 billion euros," one of the sources said.

For Edison this could be the right time to part ways with its parent company after it completed the exit from the exploration & production (E&P) business this summer, the source said.

Italian infrastructure fund F2i, French private equity firm Ardian, Czech power and infrastructure operator EPH as well as several big Italian energy groups could be interested in Edison the sources said.

F2i and Ardian declined to comment on the issue. EPH was not immediately available to comment.

Asked about the subject, an EDF spokesman stuck to the company's statements of early August, when the group denied press reports that it was considering a sale of Edison.

Edison CEO Nicola Monti told Reuters last week he could not comment on EDF's governance changes and the potential impact on the Italian company, adding the unit has a "very solid" financial situation and is pressing ahead with an investment plan focused on energy transition.

Additional reporting by Elisa Anzolin and Elvira Pollina in Milan, and Benjamin Mallet in Paris; editing by Keith Weir and Alexandra Hudson

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