The secret massive losses EDF is suffering in building Hinkley C. EDF faces massive financial losses as they continue to fund the building of Hinkley C. This is because they are paying for the power station from their balance sheet rather than use much cheaper UK Treasury loans that were originally agreed with the UK Government. In short, paying for the construction costs out of shareholders’ dividends is very costly, something that depresses share prices and in effect loses tremendous amounts of money for the main shareholder, the French Government. Originally when the contract to build Hinkley C was signed off by the UK Government and then approved by the EU Commission (required under ‘state aid’ rules), the plan was that the bulk of Hinkley C construction costs would be paid for by loans from the Treasury, which would be lent at relatively low rates of interest. But the Government insisted on a proviso for this to happen.This condition said that the successful commercial operation of the same nuclear technology (the European Pressurised Reactor or EPR) being built in France at Flamanville had to be demonstrated by the end of 2020. However EDF has never taken up the offer of loans from the UK Treasury, and the obvious reason for this is simply that the completion date for the Flamanville EPR has been pushed back and back – so much so that the earliest it can even begin its test cycles will be 2022. EDF cannot possibly meet the conditions enabling it to take up the loan guarantees. EDF has made a ‘virtue’ out of this necessity and declared it will not take up the Treasury loans. Hence, in order to complete Hinkley C EDF can only do so by issuing its own bonds, and thus accumulating debt that rests on its balance sheets. Such mounting debt reduces the possibility for issuing dividends to shareholders and thus depresses share prices.
Dave Toke’s Blog 22nd Dec 2019 read more »