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CDC, CNP to pay €4.1bn for stake in France’s power grid

EDF’s sale of a 49.9% holding in RTE means it is set to complete about 70% of its €10bn disposal plan by early next year.

French investment pair Caisse des Dépôts and CNP Assurances have agreed a €4.1 billion deal with EDF to buy just under half of French electricity transmission system operator RTE.

CDC will buy 29.9 percent of EDF’s share in the grid operator while CNP will take 20 percent, ensuring EDF remains the majority shareholder. The entry of the two investors is designed to put RTE on a stronger economic footing while also providing relief to EDF’s balance sheet. The agreement wraps up an exclusivity deal signed by the three parties in July.

They will form a new joint venture to which EDF will transfer all of RTE’s shares and then early next year sell the appropriate amount to CDC and CNP. EDF said the joint venture will partly finance this step via external debt.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, the utility’s chairman, said the deal will enable the company “to concentrate its financial resources on its priority investments, in support of the energy transition”.

EDF initiated the divestment as part of its plan to sell about €10 billion worth of assets and said it could deliver 70 percent of this target by early next year. It is also planning on a capital increase of €4 billion during the first quarter of 2017, some €3 billion of which will be subscribed to by EDF’s majority shareholder, the French state.