Attempts by French state-owned energy group EdF to seek a partnership approach to its controversial shareholding in Italian generator Edison, yesterday met with an unfavourable response from Edison chief executive Giuilio Del Ninno.

Del Ninno made it clear that Edison was in no need of an industrial partner and wished to remain independent. “We’re doing well on our own, both in Italy and abroad,” Mr Del Ninno said. “We want to keep our strategy, which has been clear from the start and which develops both gas and electricity supply.”

EdF has built a 20.1 per cent stake in Edison through a shareholding in parent company Montedison. The Italian government was sufficiently unhappy about the predatory nature of EdF’s position to introduce a restriction in the voting rights of the state-owned company.

In response, EdF has claimed that its investment is strategic and sought the co-operation of other industrial shareholders to work in partnership with Edison.

Del Ninno rejected the move and said, “Edison’s plan to nearly double electricity output and triple gas sales in coming years did not require Edison to find a new strategic partner. We have big partners for individual projects: Shell and BG for gas in Egypt, Bechtel and Shell for a power plant there.”

As a protection against further French incursions into the company, Montedison and Mediobanca, the investment bank that owns 14.5 per cent of the holding company and controls its board, have sought investors to buy 13.5 per cent of Montedison owned by Italian banks which want to sell.