EDF to raise funds for Hinkley Point from sale of stake in prized European asset

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Hinkley Point is expected to provide seven per cent of the UK's power needs (Source: Getty)

The French owner of the Hinkley Point C project is selling off prime assets in order to fund development of the controversial UK nuclear reactor.

According to reports in Le Figaro over the weekend, EDF, is looking for a buyer of a 50 per cent stake in RTE, Europe's biggest high-voltage electricity transmission grid.

The debt-laden French state-controlled energy provider needs to sell non-core assets in order to fund the tens of billions of euros of investment that Hinkley Point requires.

Although RTE is run as an entirely separate entity - due to EU rules that prevent utility companies controlling the electricity networks - the plan would be to create a holding company which would either be held directly by EDF or via French state-owned bank Caisse des Depots (CDC).

On Friday EDF announced that it would be holding an EGM on 26 July to obtain clearance for a 4 billion euro share issue. As an 85 per cent shareholder the French government would be would provide over 3 billion euros. The cash is to be used alongside proceeds for non-core sales to fund projects such as Hinkley Point.

Messier Maris and Goldman Sachs were reported as advising EDF; with Citigroup and Barber Hauler advising RTE. BNP Paribas and Compagnie Financière du Lion were advising CDC.