EDF may allocate half of RTE to nuclear costs fund

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PARIS, July 21 (Reuters) - French power company EDF said it might allocate half of its Reseau de Transport d'Electricite (RTE) power grid to a portfolio of assets set up to fund the dismantling of nuclear reactors.

Under a 2006 law on financing nuclear expenses, EDF must build up a portfolio of dedicated assets to meet the future costs of decommissioning nuclear power plants and storing radioactive waste.

A source close to the matter told Reuters that EDF's 50 percent stake in RTE was worth over 2 billion euros ($2.58 billion) and that RTE's debt, which stood at 6.3 billion euros at end-2009, would be taken out of EDF's global debt.

This was if EDF decided to push ahead with what the source insisted was "at the moment a mere project".

The allocation would not change the fact that RTE would remain 100 percent owned by EDF, EDF said in a statement.

"In order to reduce the volatility of the portfolio in the build-up phase, EDF is considering an investment in infrastructure assets, providing steady dividends that would enable it to meet very long-term liabilities," it added.

At the end of 2009, the total invested in dedicated assets stood at 11.4 billion euros, of which 37 percent was stocks, 51 percent bonds and 12 percent closed-end funds and money market funds.

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