France puts a ceiling on expensive bills. Edf earthquake on the stock market, Enel also falls

Edf, the French state-controlled energy giant, is heavily losing ground this morning on the stock exchange. The shares fell more than 22%, burning up a quarter of its value. The trend also drags the shares of other countries including the Italian utility Enel, down by more than 2%.

The country’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said in an interview with LeParisien that the prices of French bills should not rise more than 4%. Without this intervention, according to experts, the level would have increased by 20%. The intervention had already been promised last September. The measure aims to protect families and businesses from the high bills that are a consequence of the sharp rise in energy prices in recent times on the financial markets around the world.

To keep prices down, the state-owned Edf will have to increase the volumes of nuclear power it sells to smaller rivals. The European Commission has already approved the plan, the minister said.

The move does not appeal to market participants. Edf has in fact estimated that this maneuver could cost up to 8.4 billion euros. The group also revoked its earnings guidance and reduced expectations for nuclear power generation after extending the suspension of a fifth nuclear reactor due to technical problems.

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