EDF results show expected rebound

18 February 2019

EDF in 2018 achieved all its financial objectives and exceeded the targets of its performance plan, company chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy announced last week. Its performance would be "amplified" in 2019, he said during the presentation of its results.

2018 saw the first EPR at Taishan enter

"The rebound in our results in 2018 has occurred and is in line with our forecasts," Lévy said on 15 February.

EDF, which is majority-owned by the French government, recorded an EBITDA of EUR15.3 billion (USD18.0 billion), up 11.3% on the previous year. Lévy said the company had stabilised its net financial debt (EUR33.4 billion at the end of 2018), strengthened its balance sheet, overhauled the French nuclear sector and strengthened its supply business. The commissioning in 2018 of the world's first EPR, at Taishan, China, had been a "major achievement" for the "revitalised" French nuclear industry, he said.

French nuclear output of 393.2 TWh was 14.1 TWh higher than in 2017. The company said this improvement reflected that 2017 output had been "heavily penalised" by several reactor outages linked in particular to the manufacturing records of the Creusot plant, the "carbon segregation" issue, and the temporary shutdown of the four units of the Tricastin power plant. A decrease in the UK's nuclear output to 59.1 TWh - down 4.8 TWh from 2017 - could be explained by issues found during an inspection at Hunterston B and the extension of an outage at Dungeness B, the company said. Reactors 3 and 4 at Hunterston in Scotland were taken offline in March and October, respectively, after cracks were found during routine inspections. EDF Energy said in December it currently estimates that unit 4 will return to service at the end of March and unit 3 at the end of April.

2018 would be remembered for the commissioning of the Taishan EPR, built by EDF in partnership with Chinese partner CGN, and had seen a complete "refounding" of the French nuclear industry, with the integration of Framatome into EDF, Lévy said. Framatome contributed EUR202 million to the EDF Group's EBITDA for 2018.

The French government in November 2018 announced a ten-year energy transition strategy - also known as PPE - to reduce fossil fuel consumption, diversify the country's energy mix and reduce the share of nuclear energy from its current 75% to 50% by 2035. Lévy said the EDF Group intended to be a leader in the energy transition and would focus on three structural measures of strengthening the regulatory framework, optimising the group's organisation, and preparing the case for nuclear new build in France.

The government had directed EDF to draw up a plan for the construction of new EPRs, he said, and the company was working to prepare a comprehensive case for nuclear new build, addressing dimensions such as competitiveness, legal and regulatory framework and pre-financing. The company aims to provide the government with a detailed plan by the summer of 2021, to enable a final investment decision to be made.

"With its dynamism, EDF will play a leading role in the implementation of the Multi-Year Energy Plan, which provides the Group with a clear framework and growth opportunities for the coming years," Lévy said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News