Following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, the following statements have been made by EDF Chairman Jean-Bernard Lévy in an article published this morning.
Brexit has “no impact” on the business and strategy of EDF in the UK, including its plans to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in England, said Jean-Bernard Lévy, the Chairman of the French public utility, on Friday.
“As of today, we believe that this vote has no impact on our strategy, and the strategy (…) for our UK subsidiary [EDF Energy] has not changed,” the leader assured reporters before leaving for Perpignan where he will inaugurate a new EDF wind farm.
“Our business strategy is not linked to Great Britain’s political affiliation with the European Union, so we have no reason to change it,” he added.
EDF Energy, the UK subsidiary of EDF Group, produces around a sixth of the UK’s electricity with its nuclear, gas coal and wind assets, and supplies around 5.5 million residential and business customers. It employs around 15,000 people.
Jean-Bernard Levy emphasised in particular that there should be no fears of a reconsidering plans to construct two EPR nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point (in south west England), a gigantic £18 billion project (around 22 billion euros at current exchange rates), which is being challenged by the Group’s French trade unions and for which a final investment decision is pending.
“I would just point out that in the last few days, spokespeople on energy issues for the Brexit camp – notably Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom – have on numerous occasions and again in recent days come out in favour of maintaining the decarbonisation policy, of maintaining the nuclear option, and of maintaining the Hinkley Point project. Therefore there are no consequences from this vote today,” emphasised the CEO.
He also sought to reassure about the financial impact of the pound falling on EDF’s accounts. “We operate in the markets like any large company, and we made sure that we did not take a position one way or the other. That means that we are in a neutral position vis-à-vis the movements that could occur in the markets,” he said.
“Market analysts believe that the pound will drop, but if the currency falls, the economy becomes more competitive. I think we need to adapt to economic conditions and to exchange rates, which can evolve,” he noted.