EDF to seek UK nuclear partners as global profits rise

French energy giant EDF is looking into “finding new partners” for its plans to build new nuclear reactors in the UK.

EDF is poised to build four 1600 MW EPR reactors in Britain with Centrica as its junior partner.

Today the company’s chief financial officer Thomas Piquemal said that while "EDF's goal has always been – and remains – to be in control of the operations... this does not mean that we absolutely need to control 80 per cent of the projects”.

He added: “This is why we are looking into opening up a little bit more our capital in these projects by finding new partners.”

The news comes at a time of great uncertainty in the UK nuclear sector, which just over a year ago had an impressive list of potential investors.

However the decision of the German government to withdraw from nuclear following Fukushima hit the balance books of German firms E.ON and RWE, two of Britain’s biggest electricity providers. They had teamed up to form Horizon, a company under which they would build new nuclear reactors, but earlier this year they quit the project.

There is also investor uncertainty over the UK government’s Energy Bill, which seeks to introduce new payment contracts for generators of low carbon electricity but has yet to produce power firms with any figures.

Piquemal made his comments as EDF today revealed its half-year results, which saw strong performances in its hydropower and renewables divisions compensating for nuclear losses.

The state-owned company posted a 4.6 per cent rise in first-half net profit to €2.8bn ($3.4bn) while net profit excluding non-recurring items was up 10.3 per cent to €2.9bn.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 4.6 per cent to €9.1bn, with sales up 8.2 per cent to €36.2bn.

Chief executive Henri Proglio said in a statement: “Higher hydropower and renewable energy output partially offset lower nuclear output due to planned outages and more numerous outage extensions over the period in France.”

Sales in France totalled €20.7m, while the company also recorded growth in the UK and Italy, with sales of €4.8m and €3.6m respectively.


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