EDF and Chinese energy firm getting cold feet over Hinkley

Publication date: 16th February 2016

EDF released its annual accounts this morning showing falling earnings and rising debt with the share price falling by 25% since the start of the year. Moody’s also threatened a downgrade over the weekend.

Greenpeace sources and reports in the media have said that there is disarray in the EDF board, and within the French government as they come to grips with the level of debt in the company and the risk in the Hinkley nuclear project. The EDF investment decision has been again delayed and was not on the agenda of yesterday’s board meeting. This is despite the fact that EDF said the decision would be ‘soon’ or ‘imminent’ several times over the last year. And Amber Rudd last year said ‘there was a very good prospect of go ahead in 2015.’

Last night, Greenpeace projected a huge picture of George Osborne in a hard hat sporting the EDF logo onto the House of Commons, and the Treasury with the words ‘Let it go, George everyone else has #LetHinkleyGo’

Doug Parr, Greenpeace Policy Director said:

“EDF’s accounts show growing debts and falling earnings. EDF management and employees warn taking on further risk could easily spell disaster for the company. Hinkley is a bad investment and most people with an ounce of financial acumen have now come to realise this. George Osborne stands alone in defending Hinkley’s honour – he needs to let Hinkley go – everyone else has. The nuclear industry has usually promised far more than it has delivered and the debacle over the Hinkley reactor shows little has changed.

“Hinkley will be one of the most expensive objects on earth. And George Osborne is happy to force this year’s school leavers to pay over the odds for it until they are about to draw their pensions. But wind and solar power could be subsidy free well before Hinkley could ever come on stream.

“It looks as though EDF is understandably getting cold feet over funding two thirds of the Hinkley project that is well known to be spiralling in cost, massively delayed and some analysts say is unconstructable. One could wonder if the state owned Chinese company is hesitating over whether to sign on the dotted line for a multi billion pound deal with EDF and an unknown partner.”

EDF say that it intends to extend the life of four existing nuclear power stations in the UK.

However, Dr Doug Parr raised concerns saying: “It might be EDF’s plan to extend the lives of the power stations but this will only happen after safety issues have been resolved with the nuclear regulator. It is not necessarily a done deal. Meanwhile policy changes in the last few years will provide significant windfall profits for nuclear stations so it’s not surprising that EDF want to exploit that.”

ENDS For more information, please call Kate Blagojevic on 07801 212 959

Reuters report the La Figaro income figures. http://uk.reuters.com/article/europe-stocks-factors-idUKL8N15U0EF

Amber Rudd said that there was a very good prospect of Hinkley going ahead in 2015 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/11754413/Hinkley-Point-nuclear-plant-very-good-prospect-of-go-ahead-this-year-says-Amber-Rudd.html

Photos are here http://photo.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MZIFJ6F9KGS