EDF shares lose more than 20% on the stock market, weighed down by forecasts of financial results and lower electricity production

The fall is dizzying. EDF shares lost more than 20% on the Paris Stock Exchange on Friday, January 14, after the French electricity group lowered its forecasts for electricity production and financial results for the year. At 9:45 am, the title tumbled 21.82%, to 8.09 euros, after a mechanical suspension in the first exchanges due to excessive movements.

On Thursday, the French government asked EDF to increase by 20% the volume of nuclear electricity sold at a reduced price to its competitors this year, from 100 to 120 terawatt hours, in order to limit the rise in electricity prices for consumers.

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This means that the group will be forced to sell at a reduced price up to 40% of its electricity production in 2022, instead of selling at high market prices. This decision will cost him billions of euros.

In financial terms, the group announced on Thursday evening that, “in the current state of information” available to it, the impact of this measure on its gross operating surplus for 2022 would be“approximately €8.4 billion based on market prices as of December 31, 2021 and approximately €7.7 billion based on market prices as of January 12, 2022”. This numbers “can scare investors”, say Alphavalue analysts in a note on Friday.

Concerns about electricity production

Corn “the real bad news” concerns the “production downgrade” nuclear for 2022 to 300-330 terawatt hours, against 330-360 terawatt hours previously, due to the extension of the shutdown period of five reactors in EDF’s French nuclear fleet, they specify.

Today, 10 of the 56 reactors are shut down for maintenance or for another reason, which represents 20% of French nuclear production capacity. Other plant closures in the middle of winter, when electricity consumption is high, could disrupt the country’s electricity supply, or even create power outages in the worst-case scenario.

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On Thursday, the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety informed Agence France-Presse that a nuclear reactor at the Penly power plant, in Seine-Maritime, was also affected by a problem of corrosion of a system of already detected or suspected on four other EDF reactors currently shut down.

One such news “more alarming that Penly is designed differently than [les réacteurs de] Civeaux and Chooz and that the corrosion problems do not seem to be attributable solely to a certain type of reactor”, according to Alphavalue’s rating. This advert “paves the way for potential additional disruptions in the coming weeks and months (…), and the impact on the financial results is difficult to estimate at the present time since it will depend on the duration of the interruptions and their number”, is added.

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The World with AFP

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