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PARIS: France is considering restructuring plans for debt-laden power firm EDF that include full nationalization followed by the sale of its renewables business to focus on nuclear energy, BFM Business reported, citing unidentified sources.
The website said the government was working with investment bank Goldman Sachs on several restructuring scenarios.
The sale of the renewables business could fetch 15 billion euros ($16 billion), it cited unidentified bankers as saying, adding that could help finance the building of six next-generation EPR nuclear reactors.
The sale could attract the interest of French energy group Engie, in which the state has a 24 percent stake, BFM said.
A Finance Ministry official told Reuters there were no plans to sell EDF’s renewable energy arm, and denied the government was looking into shifting it to Engie.
The spokesperson also noted ongoing French elections and said no decisions on EDF would be taken until a new government was in place.
Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Engie did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
At 0825 GMT, EDF shares were up 2.9 percent at 8.57 euros, while Engie shares were off 0.06 percent at 11.44 euros.
“We believe that Engie would clearly be interested as it would accelerate its growth in renewables. However whilst this could make sense, it remains so far a scenario from the press,” JP Morgan analysts said in a note.
“Whilst we believe that both (President Emmanuel) Macron and (Marine) Le Pen are supportive of nuclear, what will be decided will ultimately depend on the outcome of the elections,” they added, referring to the candidates facing a run-off in the presidential vote.
Macron told journalists on March 17, as he presented his program for re-election, that the state — which already owns over 80 percent of EDF — should further strengthen its capital position in the utility.
Macron has pushed for a shake-up of EDF as a way of securing the future of its debt-laden and capital-intensive nuclear energy sector, at a time when Western nations are seeking to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.
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