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France to privatize power

France’s conservative government has finally given the go-ahead for the partial privatisation of EDF. Some 15% of the vast company—the world’s biggest generator of nuclear power—is set to revert to private ownership in the next few days.

Well sort of, 15% is just 15%. The Economist questions whether 15% will be enough to allow the firm to compete with its European competitors (with looming EU deadlines approaching). However, they praise the government for their bravery in light of France’s strong unions and the national sentiment that EDF evokes.

If the upcoming public offering goes well, further tranches of EDF shares may be sold, but only the bravest government would pass a controlling interest into private hands. Still, if the government is serious about allowing its national champion to compete and become a European champion, that is probably what it must contemplate.

For more, see our reading lists on the impact of infrastructure privatizations and on how to manage such reforms.

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