Thomas Piquemal, the former chief financial officer with EDF, has told a French parliamentary committee meeting that he left the company over a decision to go ahead with the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project, despite his advice to delay it.
The ex-CFO said that rather than resigning for personal reasons, as was thought at the time, he did so because he felt the risk to the company was unjustifiable.
“In January 2015, I proposed to negotiate a three-year delay with our client because we reasoned that it would weigh too heavily on EDF‘s balance sheet,” Piquemal told the hearing.
“I could not sign off on a decision that could one day put EDF in the same situation as Areva, having to recapitalise the company a few months before defaulting on payments,” he added.
“Who would bet 60 to 70 percent of his equity on a technology that has not yet proven that it can work and which takes 10 years to build.”
The Areva-designed European Pressurized Reactor designated for Hinkley Point C has ran into problems in France, Finland and China, with severe impact on schedules and budgets.
Since Piquemal’s resignation, EDF has announced a EUR4bn capital increase and the government has agreed to forego cash dividends for two years, in a capital boost estimated at generating around EUR7bn.
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