PARIS: :EDF reported one of the biggest losses in French corporate history Friday, as fallout from the Ukraine war and idling nuclear reactors spelt financial disaster for the state-controlled energy giant.
Earnings and debt both worsened dramatically in 2022 as EDF struggled with a drop in electricity output after shutting down a big chunk of France’s nuclear plants to fix corrosion problems, and a heatwave reduced hydro-power production.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent energy prices soaring, the government ordered EDF to sell energy at below cost to consumers – forcing it deeper into the red.
“The 2022 results were significantly affected by the decline in our electricity output, and also by exceptional regulatory measures introduced in France in difficult market conditions,” chief executive Luc Remont said in a statement.
EDF’s debt ballooned to 64.5 billion euros ($68.6 billion) in 2022 while losses totalled 17.9 billion euros, after a profit of over five billion euros in 2021.
In the past two decades, only former entertainment behemoth Vivendi Universal and communications giant France Telecom have reported bigger annual losses in France.
A bright spot was EDF’s revenue, which rose by 70 percent to 143.5 billion euros last year due to the spiking energy prices.
Remont became EDF’s boss in November of last year, tasked with carrying out President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to make France less dependent on Russian gas, and fossil fuels in general, by investing in a new generation of nuclear energy reactors and renewables.