EDF Renegotiates Edison’s Natural-Gas Contracts to Italy

Electricite de France SA is renegotiating Edison SpA’s natural-gas import contracts to Italy, according to Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal.

“There are considerable stakes for the group” attached to these talks, he said on a conference call today. Deals with Qatar and Libya could be reached before the end of the year while talks with Algeria may end next year, he said.

New import contracts could give the Italian power producer an extra 600 million euros ($737 million) in earnings, according to a 2012 forecast, Piquemal confirmed. Edison renegotiated long-term import deals with Russia and Norway last year.

EDF is making a general offer for shares in Edison through Aug. 3. The French nuclear operator plans to center its natural gas strategy in Italy following the takeover of Edison. EDF has yet to decide whether Edison will remain listed in Italy.

“We are waiting for the results to decide what we will do, whether we will continue to list it or not,” Piquemal said, referring to the ongoing general offer. The French utility is expected to hold more than 90 percent of Edison at the end of the offer.

Edison, Italy’s second-largest gas company, had about 1.4 million customers at the end of June and bought 15 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year, according to a presentation on EDF’s website. The utility has a net power generation capacity of 7.7 gigawatts, three quarters of which from gas-fired plants.

The Edison takeover shaved 51 million euros net of tax off EDF earnings and added 2.4 billion euros to EDF’s debt at the end of June, according to an EDF presentation today.

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