Electricite de France has said it has still not decided if it will sell its indirect stake in Edison, Italy’s second largest utility company, to avoid having to follow through on an agreement to buy the entire firm.A French newspaper is reporting that EDF might pull out after learning from Italian market regulator Consob that a buy-out of Edison could cost it much more than originally estimated.The saga continues to create friction between the French and Italian governments.
Because EDF is state-owned and Edison is considered a strategic company the Italian government has limited its voting rights. Rome is also upset because it says France’s domestic energy market remains closed to Italian investors. Responding to the report that the EDF board is due to meet within days to discuss a rapid exit from Italy, a company spokeswoman said it is complicated and they continue to study two scenarios – staying in Italy or withdrawing. EDF is looking for buyers for its stake, but if it is forced to go through with a buy-out, that could cost as much as 12 billion euros.