PARIS (Reuters) -Shares in French power utility EDF lost early gains and were down 1.3% after Les Echos reported that the government is leaning towards a more than 2 billion euro ($2.3 billion) capital injection for the state-owned company.
“According to several sources, the State (…) had decided in favour of a rapid reinforcement of the group’s equity, via the injection of more than 2 billion euros”, the daily financial paper said on Thursday, adding that a formal decision had yet to be taken.
The finance ministry and EDF declined to comment on the report.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire this week said that decisions on EDF’s financial future will be made public soon, with the debt-laden company facing larges-scale investment to build at least six next-generation nuclear reactors.
French President Emmanuel Macron has previously said that France’s nuclear renaissance, a major policy shift that consists of extending the lifespan of old reactors while building up to eight new EPR2 reactors, will be led by EDF.
But the utility’s shares have lost almost 40% of their value as curbs to shield French consumers from soaring power prices added to a series of technical setbacks that forced the utility to halt a number of its nuclear reactors.
Tens of billions of euros in public financing would be used to finance the projects and safeguard EDF’s finances, Macron said.
The French government this week said that all options were being discussed regarding the future of EDF, including full nationalisation.
($1 = 0.8801 euros)
(Reporting by GV De ClercqEditing by Tassilo Hummel and David Goodman)