Last month when EDF, the mainly state-owned electricity group, lost its place in the blue-chip CAC 40 stock market index to Klépierre, an owner and operator of shopping centres. Out went a gouty old emperor of 20th-century French industry, and in came a young prince of the 21st-century service sector, eager to satisfy popular demand for evermore delicious forms of consumerism. Few investors are shedding tears at EDF’s exit from the CAC 40. Its share price has slumped by almost 40 per cent in the past 12 months. Its small free float meant that, during its 10 years on the CAC 40, it was a featherweight next to the likes of Total, the oil and gas giant, and Sanofi, the pharmaceuticals group. Yet the symbolism of EDF’s unceremonious exit from the CAC 40 is heavy and inescapable. Klépierre looks to the future with confidence because it is in a sector aligned with the spirit of the age. EDF was once that kind of company, too — but times have moved on, and now it is the colossus of nuclear energy that needs to catch up.
FT 6th Jan 2016 read more »