France begins nationalisation of power giant

The state, which currently owns 84 percent of EDF, filed a takeover offer with the financial markets regulators, the first step in removing EDF’s shares from the market.It hopes the move will help re-instill confidence in the company, which has a €60-billion debt, as the government wants to launch construction of six next-generation nuclear reactors. The state is offering €12 per share, and if it takes its holding to 90 percent, it can force other shareholders to sell.

The entire operation will cost €9.7 billion.After the 1970s energy shocks, France began a massive programme to build nuclear power plants, which eventually accounted for around three-quarters of electricity production. But France’s oldest reactors are reaching the end of their service lives and EDF’s efforts to build a new generation of nuclear power plants has faced massive delays and cost overruns.