Another step towards the renationalisation of EDF. The deputies on Tuesday supported the State financing of 100% of EDF, an operation of 9.7 billion euros intended to get the group out of the financial and industrial rut. The Assembly adopted these appropriations within the framework of examining the draft amending budget for 2022 by 209 votes against 156. In total, the Assembly voted an envelope of 12.7 billion euros for possible operational support for strategic French companies.
The government already owns 84% of EDF and intends to launch a public tender offer (OPA) that ends at the end of October. This return to the State of 100% of EDF was announced on July 6 by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
Renationalization should allow the group, which has a lot of debt, to borrow at a lower amount and give the State free rein to reorganize it as it sees fit, without having to report to the minorities that shareholders – EDF will no longer be listed on the stock exchange. This will be done through a public purchase offer (OPA) of 16% of the shares not held by the State, at the end of October normally.
This renationalization comes at a time when the energy company is going through a critical phase: the State intends to make it the “armed arm” of the greening of its energy policy and the coverage of the greater which is sovereign in this area, while finding itself in an extremely degraded financial condition.
Burdened by a debt that could reach more than 60 billion euros by the end of 2022, the electricity company sees its financial situation further strained by the government’s decision to sell cheaper electricity to those its competitors to protect utility bills. . At the same time, EDF is facing difficulties in maintaining its aging nuclear fleet: more than half of its 56 reactors have been shut down, either for maintenance or for corrosion problems that have recently appeared.
In the hemicycle, the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire particularly insisted on the “relaunch of France’s nuclear program”, with six new EPR reactors. “Nuclear has suffered greatly due to the abandonment of the industry in recent years,” he added in a chaotic atmosphere. “Private investors will not spend on six new reactors”, “programs with very slow profits. When it comes to the long term, the public investor is the best investor,” he said.
Ecologists and LFI voted against, rejecting “all nuclear”. Like others, they demanded “a major debate before the national representation on the future of energy in France”. The RN also objected to this.
General rapporteur Jean-René Cazeneuve (LREM) insisted on the future energy programming law “before the middle of next year” and Bruno Le Maire emphasized his availability in the debate.
These difficulties, combined with the consequences of the war in Ukraine, bring the issue of energy sovereignty back to the fore, a fortiori with the European and French goal of rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the change in climate.
To guarantee energy independence while allowing France to get out of fossil fuels, President Emmanuel Macron announced the launch of a program of six new generation EPR nuclear reactors, or even 14, in addition to the only model which is currently being built in the country. , in Flamanville (Manche). So the renationalization of EDF is only the beginning of a vast reorganization project, which has scared the unions into continuing the construction of the Hercules project, which was suspended last year.
Supposed to provide resources by placing EDF’s activities related to renewables on the stock exchange and by improving the wages of nuclear power, this project is seen by the labor unions as a dismantling. A vision challenged by the executive, who has repeatedly confirmed that this old project is “old” and completely buried.