PARIS, April 10 (Reuters) - Talks with the European
Commission on restructuring EDF are not stuck and the
French firm remains on track to start operating its
next-generation nuclear reactor at Flamanville next year, its
CEO said on Saturday.
France hopes to place state-run EDF's debt-laden and capital
hungry nuclear business in a holding company that would be fully
state owned. It would control a separate entity housing the more
lucrative parts of the business and free of its liabilities.
With more nuclear reactors than any country other than the
United States, France is keen to ensure a profitable EDF has the
money it needs to replace ageing reactors, develop new
technology and compete globally.
"(The negotiations) are not at all bogged down," CEO
Jean-Bernard Levy told France Inter radio. He said talks between
Paris and the Commission were being held almost daily.
The two sides have wrangled for months over creating a
structure in which all of EDF's businesses would benefit from a
form of state aid while its unions oppose the plan, dubbed
Investors would be invited to acquire up to 30% of the
shares in that entity under the plan, allowing the state to
recoup some of its 10 billion euro cost of buying out minority
The government's ownership of EDF at present is 83.7%.
Levy reaffirmed that EDF's new EPR reactor at Flamanville
was expected to come on line at the end of 2022 but said EDF
could not afford further problems if that timetable was to be
Work on Flamanville began in 2007, its expected cost has
tripled and work is running a decade behind schedule after
delays caused by problems including weak spots found in its
reactor vessel head.
(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; writing by Richard Lough,
editing by William Maclean and Jason Neely)