Breton companies face energy prices: “We are heading for an industrial disaster! “- Economy

“We are heading for an industrial disaster if the government does nothing”. Director of Silvadec, in Arzal (56), a company specializing in the production of composite blades, Bénédicte Jézéquel does not hide his concern.

The company Silvadec, in Arzal (56). (Photo Silvadec)

150 km away, on the edge of the Saint-Brieuc bypass, foundry furnaces heat old scrap metal to transform it into tools used in quarries. Taken four years ago by its executives, the Saint-Brieuc foundry (a hundred employees) could be stopped in its tracks by rising energy prices.

The activity, which consumes a lot of gas and electricity, will be penalized from January 1, worries Patrick Ducatillon, its managing director. As for Silvadec, the amount of its electricity bill will be quadrupled.

The improvements are sometimes so significant that they represent the value of annual margins.

The result of a world market destabilized by the economic recovery a year ago, then by the war in Ukraine. But not only. French companies fear, at the end of the summer, that there will be no chance to be competitive. “In one year, the wholesale price of MWH for France is from 82 to 800 euros. And the offer for November is already at 1,200 euros,” confirmed Nicolas Leclerc, co-founder of Omnegy, which specializes in support of businesses and communities in the negotiation of energy contracts. At this price, David Duval, the delegate director of the Union of Metallurgical Industrialists, in Brittany, says he is worried: “The improvements are sometimes very important that it represents the amount of annual margins. »

The restart of nuclear power is in question

EDF’s announcement of a delay in the restart of four nuclear reactors confirmed the fears of analysts. Their relative confidence in forecasts for the continuation of nuclear production for the winter partly explains this increase, highlighted by the rise of the dollar against the euro.

A fear that increases the threat of a lack of gas this winter, energy to which the price of electricity is indexed,

RTE’s annual report on security of supply, expected to be published in September, will allay their fears. Or confirm them despite the government’s statements about filling gas stocks. The price of gas in Rotterdam confirms this, according to Jacques Percebois, director of the energy economics and law research center of the University of Montpellier: “It is equivalent to a barrel of 500 dollars”.

“There is a risk for the continuity of the company”

Under these conditions, companies investing in energy storage have a head start. Saint-Brieuc Fonderie committed 300,000 euros to install self-recovery burners in its heat treatment furnaces and reduce its gas consumption. “But we don’t have time, between now and the end of the year, to put more heavy investments.” The price of electricity, due to the lack of a tariff shield, should be increased by fifteen this winter.

Last Saturday, Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, said he wanted to simplify access to a fund of three billion euros. Employers are still worried. “There is a risk for the continuity of the company”, warns the general manager of the foundry, unable to say whether he can pass on the increase in energy costs to his customers, in front of competitors. worried.

Partial unemployment this winter?

Faced with this situation, Bénédicte Jézéquel confides that he is preparing a file for partial unemployment. Patrick Ducatillon also thinks about it: “If it’s too expensive, we won’t work. »

The company Silvadec specializes in the production of composite blades.
The company Silvadec specializes in the production of composite blades. (Photo Silvadec)

The current situation is completely crazy. By force of circumstance, there will be no more orders if the price is too high for our farmer customers.

A break in activity that Myriam Emily did not expect. The general manager of Rolland trailers – 250 jobs in Tréflévénez (29) – intends to honor his order book, despite a bill up 50%. The company thought it was hedged but ultimately had to deal with market volatility. “The current situation is absolutely crazy. By force of circumstance, there will be no more orders if the price is too high for our farmer customers. »

What other solution? “Back to the regulated standard tariff for small businesses”, advises Nicolas Leclerc. ?For others, stopping production may be the only solution. Unless the government takes more action.

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