The CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Levy, unveils the financial health of the group. “EDF can no longer afford to build everything alone” and must be “efficient,” he says. To reduce staff by 5%, a five retirement will not be replaced. Can you elaborate on the removal of 5% of the positions at EDF? Forty years ago, EDF hired a lot for the construction of French nuclear fleet. Today these employees have retired and we have many recruited in the last five years to anticipate their departure. We will continue to hire, 1000-2000 people every year, but only replacing four starts in five retirement. In France, the parent, by 2018, declining workforce will represent approximately 5% of our 67,000 employees, or 3,350 positions. This mastery of payroll effort will be similar in the rest of the group in France and abroad. Is this the signal that EDF is going wrong? EDF is in good shape, but saw a rapid transformation and necessary to stay it is the great electrician. The electricity market is not growing and competition accelerates. Last year, we lost 30% of our market share in the corporate market. And do not sell them more electricity at regulated tariffs, but at much lower market prices. This is a radical change. We must adapt to this new world. EDF must be agile and efficient to fulfill its ambitions. We will lower our costs and this also involves staff costs. In 2018, the number will be returned to the 2012 level. Is the company “to the brink of collapse” as say the unions? Absolutely not. EDF is in good health and we remain the largest investor in France. But the end of the monopoly is real, and we must resist the competition desired by European regulators. In France, our market share recede, so we must not fall behind. Our debt is high and we have to make trade-offs concerning our future operations. We no longer have the means to keep everything abroad, or build everything alone. That is why the time comes, in a few years, we may have to find partners for the renewal of the nuclear fleet in France, as we already do in Britain.
Le JDD 23rd Jan 2016 read more »