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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
France set to part-privatise EDF
EDF headquarters in Paris
The government has pledged to keep an 85% stake
France's state-owned power company Electricite de France (EDF) is to be part-privatised, the French government has confirmed.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the share issue would take place in the next few days.

The move is likely to be met by fresh protests by workers, who have already organised power cuts over the issue.

To try and limit further demonstrations, the French government has pledged to maintain 85% ownership.

Reinvestment

Mr Villepin also said on Monday that EDF had agreed to invest 40bn euros ($48bn; 27bn) over the next five years.

This initial public offering will be carried out in the interests of France, of the company and of its employees
French PM Dominique de Villepin

He further pledged that all proceeds from the share issue would be ploughed back into the company.

The flotation is expected to net EDF between 5bn and 9bn euros.

Since a 2004 law that allowed EDF's part-privatisation, unions and staff have staged a number of protests, ranging from general blackouts to the targeted cutting of power to the homes of government ministers.

"This initial public offering will be carried out in the interests of France, of the company and of its employees," said Mr Villepin.


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