Engie denies plans to sell Belgian nuclear plants

New York (AFP) –


The head of French energy firm Engie on Wednesday denied reports her company planned to sell Belgian nuclear reactors to France's EDF, calling Belgium a "strategic country" for Engie.

"There's nothing to this," Chief Executive Isabelle Kocher told reporters during a trip to New York, rejecting claims printed by the weekly French newspaper Le Canard Enchaine.

Engie's Belgian nuclear power installation, operated by the local subsidiary Electrabel, has suffered recent setbacks.

Most of the seven reactors in question have been idled for lengthy overhauls, and Belgian authorities say only one will be operational by November.

"Belgium is a strategic country for Engie. If we can speed up our investments... by bringing in partners, I'm open to it," Kocher said.

But she denied this was in the works.

"There are no negotiations under way with anyone," she said.

According to Le Canard Enchaine, Engie also offered EDF a 49 percent stake in its hydropower business, Compagnie nationale du Rhone.

"I have no idea where that's coming from," said Kocher. "There are zero plans to sell CNR."