The French government is planning to sell shares in some of the country’s largest companies to pay for a €3bn aid package that will help utility EDF build the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear project in the UK. People close to the discussions say that shares in Renault and Safran are likely to be sold this year, along with the airports in Nice and Lyon, in order to ensure that there will be no extra cost to taxpayers for the investments by the majority-state owned utility group. This comes as the government last week promised to provide three-quarters of the money for a €4bn capital raise by EDF this year. The group, which has a stretched balance sheet with €37bn in net debt, needs money to pay for a range of costly investments. This includes the £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear project in the UK as well as an estimated €55bn bill in the coming decade just to increase the lifespan of the country’s 58 nuclear power stations from 40 years to 50 years.
FT 1st May 2016 read more »