One month after the part privatisation of French power group Electricity de France, an investigation has been launched into the sale of its shares. A number of banks sold a total of 15% of the company on behalf of the government. But now some bank customers are complaining that EdF shares were bought on their behalf, without them being consulted. Investors have been disappointing with the share price since the sale. It initially fell and has struggled to make any gains.
Serge Maitre, spokesman for an association representing French bank customers, said they have had several complaints: “For example, someone in Saint Etienne found 62 shares had been bought in his name when he’d not given written permission for that and hadn’t even spoken to anyone on the phone. The bank then resold the shares and charged him for a loss of 70 euros.”
The French financial markets authority, AMF, is now looking into the allegations. AMF mediator, Madeleine Guidoni, said: “There are investors who didn’t express any interest in buying EdF shares and who weren’t offered them, but now, nevertheless, find they have EdF shares in their portfolios.” The story broke on the same day that EDF was included in France’s blue-chip stock market index, the CAC 40, and as EdF’s chief executive said in an interview that it is likely the company will sell more shares to the public.