Energy prices may have reached unprecedented highs, but 2022 was a miserable year for France’s state-controlled power company EDF, with record annual losses of €17.9 billion (£16 billion).
Energy price caps for French consumers hurt EDF profits, but so did the forced shutdown of many of its nuclear power plants for repairs.
The losses are the third largest in French corporate history and the worst in over two decades.
EDF’s debts have risen to €64.5 billion.
EDF’s underlying losses totaled €4.99 billion. In comparison, EDF’s UK-based business made an underlying profit of £1.12 billion (€1.26 billion) while supplying electricity and gas to five million households.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Emmanuel Macron’s government imposed a tariff “shield” for consumers, limiting energy companies to a 4% increase in 2022, followed by a 15% increase in 2023, keeping inflation lower than in other European countries.
However, this meant that EDF had to sell power at a loss to French consumers, while UK consumers paid far more for their energy. EDF controls roughly 80% of the French electricity market.
The French industry has not seen such poor results since 2002, when Vivendi Universal and France Telecom both reported losses of more than €20 billion in the previous year.
EDF has never reported such large losses before.
“The 2022 results were significantly impacted by the decline in our electricity output, as well as exceptional regulatory measures introduced in France in difficult market conditions,” said EDF CEO Luc Remont, adding that the company’s priority was now to get back on track. He predicted that core earnings would be much higher in 2023.