EDF shares down after France re-brands restructuring plan

·1 min read
The company logo for Electricite de France (EDF) is seen in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) - Shares in EDF fell on Friday after France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted as saying he was ditching the "Project Hercules" name of a planned restructuring of the power group that has been criticised by powerful trade unions.

Le Maire was quoted as saying by the Ouest-France newspaper in an interview that he was telling trade union representatives with whom he was discussing the restructuring: "Let's forget Project Hercules".

"Let's build a big EDF together," he was quoted as saying in the interview. "This ambitious project will take account of their proposals," he said, referring to trade unions.

A spokesman for Le Maire's ministry said the name was the only part of the project that was being dropped, while talks were continuing on the restructuring itself, in consultation with unions and the European Commission.

Shares in the company fell by 4.5% when trading opened, but later regained some ground and were down 3.4% at 0725 GMT.

Project Hercules was conceived by the French government as a way to secure the future of EDF's debt-laden and capital-hungry nuclear arm, while allowing more lucrative parts of the business to flourish free from the broader group’s liabilities.

The plan is to nationalise a holding company which will include the nuclear assets. A separate entity, controlled by the holding company, will be created to house the more lucrative businesses.

(Reporting by Christian Lowe and Gwenaelle Barzic; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)