The last year was a 'milestone' for Electricité de France (EdF) as it bought major interests in the UK and USA. In 2009 it will prioritise organic growth and a program of 'asset disposal'.
The $23 billion purchase of British Energy, which was followed three months later by a $4.5 billion bid for virtually 50% of Constellation, were the major landmarks in the EdF's last year. The transactions would "lay the foundations for our future growth," wrote the group's chair and CEO, Pierre Gadonneix, in its annual report for 2008.
The UK will become EdF's second-largest market after France, while the stake in Constellation will "reinforce the financial structure of EdF's US partner and provide the long-term stability for the Unistar Nuclear Energy (UNE) joint venture." Both of these business units are proposing to build four new Areva EPR nuclear power units.
Gadonneix added that "the recent announcement that a second EPR would be constructed in France also illustrates this new industrial age marked by the development of CO2-free energy and the revival of nuclear power." EdF is already building one EPR at Flamanville, while it will take a majority stake in the latest proposed one at Penly.
Capital expenditure reached €9.7 billion ($12.4 billion) in 2008, 54% of which was in France. The figure was up 29.5% on last year's and would include the construction costs of Flamanville 3. Net financial debt reached €24.5 billion ($31.3 billion) up from €16.3 billion ($20.8 billion) at the end of 2007, which includes the €2.7 billion ($3.4 billion) that went into buying British Energy and the $1 billion cash injection that came as part of the bid for Constellation.
In response to these layouts, EdF is now planning a sale of assets. The group has already raised significant funds through bonds: $5 billion in the USA, three tranches worth €2 billion ($2.5 billion) each and one in Swiss francs worth €650 million ($834 million). The group's balance sheet shows financial assets of €15.3 billion ($19.6 billion) as well as €5.9 billion ($7.5 billion) in cash.
EdF Group's unadjusted earnings totalled €15.4 billion ($19.2 billion) during 2008, 1.5% above 2007's figures. EdF itself brought €3.4 billion ($4.3 billion) in net income, primarily through the generation of some 417.6 TWh, while the overall group including minority interests had a net income of €3.5 billion ($4.4 billion).