France nationalized a debt-ridden and troubled energy company – in Sweden, Vattenfall’s nuclear power production has sparked controversy

Saara Koho, Brussels: France has 70 state-owned companies

The European powers France and Germany have had to make nationalization decisions due to the energy crisis. France acquires the rest of the energy company EDF shares, Germany on the other hand nationalizes Fortum’s subsidiary Uniperin.

In France, state-owned companies have traditionally played a large role in the economy.

The portfolio of the French state owner includes around 70 companies. Most of them are port or airport operators.

In France, the state is a minority shareholder in a few listed companies, such as an aircraft manufacturer At Airbusthe airline in AirFrancea car manufacturer At Renaultan energy company In Engie and telecom operator In Orange.

Among unlisted companies, it owns, for example, a railway company SNCF:n me The postal bank -bank.

In the summer, the French government decided to increase the state’s ownership in EDF, which runs nuclear power plants, from 84 percent to 100 percent. The price tag for buying the remaining 16 percent will be around ten billion euros. A substantial premium was offered for the shares.

The full nationalization was done because EDF is in debt and in trouble. Its nuclear power plants suffer from corrosion, and half of them have been idle this year. EDF has warned the market of huge losses.

President of France Emmanuel Macron has cherished the idea of ​​”European champions”, i.e. top companies that would compete against Chinese waste. In his opinion, EU competition rules should be relaxed in favor of such companies. Many small countries, such as Finland, have not warmed to the idea.

In Germany, the privatization of state-owned companies began in the 1960s, when, for example Volkswagen and an energy company PLAGUE was listed on the stock exchange. At the turn of the millennium, it was their turn Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Post. The German state also wanted to get rid of the railway company German Bahnistabut could not find a buyer for it.

In Germany, there is a debate about whether privatization has been a wise solution, for example, in terms of preserving jobs.

In Germany, the state is still a minority owner in, for example, Airbus, in Commerzbankin Volkswagen and in DHL, which are all listed companies. Now the German state has also had to take notice of Uniper, whose collapse would have caused a systemic crisis in the energy market.

Auli Valpola, London: State companies mostly sold

There are few state-owned companies left in Britain, as the sale of assets began at a rapid pace Margaret Thatcherin after becoming prime minister in 1979. Many former state-owned companies became leading companies on the London Stock Exchange.

The Thatcher government sold companies such as BP and British Gas -energy companies, British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce -aviation and defense companies, British Leyland – vehicle manufacturer, British Steel steel producer, British Telecom -telecommunications company and British Airways – the airline.

Electricity companies and England’s water utilities were also privatized.

John Major the biggest privatization project of the prime minister’s term was the railways, British Railin, chopping and selling parts. It was completed in 1997.

After many problems, the railway network and other infrastructure were nationalized again to Network Rail. It is going to be changed next year Great British Railways – as a state-owned company, which will have additional tasks in the management of train traffic. When the private companies responsible for passenger traffic have not performed their duties, the state has become the savior. Currently, five train companies are publicly managed.

During the financial crisis, the state bailed out NatWest-bank, whose shares the state still owns 48.5 percent of. Royal Mail, which distributes mail, was taken to the stock market, but the one in charge of post offices Post Office is still with the state.

At the moment, there is a dispute about whether a state-owned TV channel should be funded by advertising Channel 4 privatize.

Katja Incoronato, Udine: Italy liquidates holdings

Italy is Mario Draghin during the government, tried to liquidate state holdings. A state-owned airline has entered the sales list ITA and telecom operator TIM.

The sale of ITA has also become an election topic, as Draghi’s government decided just ahead of next Sunday’s elections that negotiations on the company’s fate will continue Air France-KLM:n and with Delta Air Lines.

The decision put Italy’s far right on the back foot. Leader of Fratelli d’Italia, which runs the election campaigns Giorgia Meloni has said that he wants to keep ITA in state ownership and increase state ownership in other companies as well, if possible.

Italy’s major energy companies, an internationally significant gas giant Enel and an oil giant Eni, are still under state control. The Italian state listed both companies on the Milan stock exchange in the 1990s, when it was Mario Draghi who privatized the Italian state’s holdings on a large scale while making Italy euro-eligible as the director-general of the country’s Ministry of Finance.

However, the Italian state has remained the largest owner in both for strategic reasons and owns 23.6 percent of Enel and 31 percent of En.

Enel and Eni came to the fore in the public debate last winter, when their top management was invited to a video meeting with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin with. Prime Minister Mario Draghi forbade the companies’ management to participate, but Enel’s management participated nonetheless. Instead, Eni obeyed the order.

Martti Kiuru, St. Petersburg: State-owned companies are reeling

Russian companies can be classified into three groups: state-owned companies, oligarch companies and private companies. Large companies owned or controlled by Russian billionaires or oligarchs are, for example Lukoil, Nornickel, Novatek and Megaphone.

Oligarchic companies often enjoy the same competitive advantages and corresponding social obligations as state-owned companies, so their privacy is questionable. From this point of view, oligarchs are a kind of custodians of state property. If state companies and oligarch companies are counted as one entity, their share of the Russian economy becomes very important. After the start of the war in Ukraine, the importance of state-owned companies has been further emphasized, because foreign companies have largely left the country.

Bank of Finland Bofit– research institute estimated a few years ago that the combined share of the state and state-owned companies in Russia’s GDP is about 40 percent. If oligarch companies and the exit of foreign capital are added to the figure, the proportion in question can rise to more than 50 percent.

Most of Russia’s large companies are listed on the Moscow stock exchange, and many are also listed on western stock exchanges, such as London, Frankfurt and New York. However, as a result of the war in Ukraine, several Western stock exchanges have refused to trade in the securities of Russian companies. Correspondingly, the Russian government has limited the companies’ presence in the financial markets of the West. For example, an energy giant Gazprom the share is no longer listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Ossi Kurki-Suonio, Stockholm: More political guidance?

Owned by the Swedish state waterfall is the country’s largest energy company and one of the country’s largest companies. Vattenfall is not listed on the stock exchange, but is 100% owned by the Swedish state.

Vattenfall has its own operations in Germany, but not to the same extent as At Fortum. Vattenfall has coal-fired thermal power plants in Berlin. Until the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 90 percent of the coal came from Russia.

In the April-June interim report, Vattenfall said it had started a “strategic review” of Berlin’s heat production.

Vattenfall’s nuclear power production has sparked controversy in Sweden.

Reactors 1 and 2 of the Ringhals nuclear power plant were closed at the turn of 2019–2020 and 2020–2021. Vattenfall is the largest owner of the plants, while Uniper is a minority owner. Uniper opposed the decommissioning of the reactors.

After the September 11th elections, he was elected as the government official Ulf Kristersson (kok) has accused the decision of being political. Kristersson himself has proposed strengthening Vattenfall’s political guidance so that nuclear power would have a stronger position in the company’s strategy.

Last December, Vattenfall rejected the construction of new, large reactors and nuclear power plants as too expensive a solution. During the summer, however, the company started a preliminary study on the construction of small, SMR reactors in connection with the Ringhals power plant.

Vattenfall cooperates extensively with various companies. In summer ST1 and Vattenfall announced a new collaboration for the development of sustainable aviation fuels.

By Editor

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