EDF, Caisse des Dépôts and CNP Assurances sign a binding agreement for the acquisition by Caisse des Dépôts and CNP Assurances of a 49.9% stake in Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE).

On 14 December 2016, EDF, on the one hand, and Caisse des Dépôts and CNP Assurances, on the other hand, entered into a binding agreement setting the terms and conditions of the acquisition by Caisse des Dépôts and CNP Assurances of a 49.9% indirect stake in RTE(1), as well as the modalities of a long-term partnership to foster the development of RTE. This partnership between major public players in infrastructure financing in France will strengthen RTE's public service remit..

The final agreed value was set at €8.2 billion for 100% of RTE equity. EDF will potentially benefit from a value complement of up to €100 million.

The selected scheme provides for Caisse des Dépôts and CNP Assurances to become core shareholders of RTE alongside EDF, through the creation of a joint venture of EDF (50.1%) and Caisse des Dépôts and CNP Assurances (49.9%).

This transaction will provide RTE with a new governance in order to support over the long-term RTE's investment strategy to optimise the electricity transmission infrastructure and provide a boost to the energy transition. By strengthening RTE's public footing and long-term economic and social model, this transaction will also enable RTE to retain its current regulatory status as independent transmission system operator in accordance with the applicable regulation.

This agreement is in line with the request by the Minister of Finance and Public Accounts and the Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital, in their joint press release on 22 April 2016, for the chairmen of RTE and EDF to define a capital opening scheme that can be implemented before the end of 2016.

EDF will initially transfer, before the end of the year, all RTE equity shares to the new joint venture. The joint venture will partly finance this operation with external debt. EDF will then sell to Caisse des Dépôts and CNP Assurances 49.9% of the equity capital of this joint venture. Finalisation of that second step is expected in the first half of 2017, once approval from the relevant merger control authorities has been obtained.

The balance of EDF’s stake in the joint venture (50.1%) will remain allocated to the portfolio of Dedicated Assets intended to cover the expenses related to the back-end nuclear cycle.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “The transaction disclosed today falls within the strategic framework announced at the beginning of 2016, and enables EDF to concentrate its financial resources on its priority investments, in support of the energy transition. The long-term partnership with the Caisse des Dépôts Group makes it possible, through the governance and the visibility it ensures, to reinforce RTE in its missions of general interest.”

Pierre-René Lemas, Caisse des Dépôts Chief Executive Officer, stated: “Caisse des Dépôts Group is pleased to be able to support the development of RTE, which is an infrastructure of general interest that is essential to the country and whose strategic goals are fully in line with our investment policy for the territories.”

Frédéric Lavenir, CNP Assurances Chief Executive Officer, stated: “As the leading personal insurer and a major investor in infrastructure financing in France, CNP Assurances is pleased to support the strategic development of RTE. This investment is directly in line with our group's long-term and responsible investor strategy, aimed in particular at accompanying the country's energy and ecological transition.”

François Brottes, Chairman of the RTE Management Board, stated: “RTE is pleased to welcome new shareholders, in a framework that consolidates its public service missions, its long-term industrial activity and its presence in the territories.”

(1) I.e. an equity stake of 29.9% by Caisse des Dépôts and of 20% by CNP Assurances.

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