The control activities of Atos nuclear power plants “will remain under the control” of the State, insists Bruno Le Maire

The control activities of Atos nuclear power plants “will remain under the control” of the State, insists Bruno Le Maire
The control activities of Atos nuclear power plants “will remain under the control” of the State, insists Bruno Le Maire

By Le Figaro with AFP

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The Minister of the Economy raised the possibility of a takeover of the strategic sectors of the IT giant in difficulty by “EDF, or a company close to EDF”.

Atos’ strategic activities will not come under foreign ownership, insists Bruno Le Maire. This Tuesday, May 28, the Minister of the Economy accelerated the maneuver by announcing his intention to place under state control the control and command activities of French nuclear power plants currently owned by the IT giant. “I confirm to you that all strategic activities will remain under the control of public authorities, including control orders for our nuclear power plants”declared Bruno Le Maire on CNews-Europe 1, referring to a possible takeover by “EDF, or a company close to EDF”.

Bercy, which had already expressed its interest in the group’s sovereign activities (supercomputers used for nuclear deterrence, contracts with the French army and cybersecurity products), has already committed to lending 50 million euros to the company to help him stabilize his financial situation and acquired a “preference action”allowing it to veto certain operations at the level of Bull, the Atos subsidiary which builds its supercomputers.

Read alsoNuclear deterrence, management of EDF power plants: these sensitive Atos activities that the State wants to buy

But Worldgrid, the highly critical subsidiary of Atos which designs the control systems for nuclear power plants, notably for EDF, is not part of the scope. “secure” by the State, although it could be transferred. “I would ensure that the control and command of nuclear power plants, which today is in Atos and not yet in the perimeter that we have secured, is in the perimeter (…) which will remain under the control of public authorities”insisted Bruno Le Maire. “There is no question that this control of nuclear power plant orders can now go I don’t really know where, it must remain under the control of public authorities”he repeated.

A debt of around 5 billion euros

Heavily indebted, Atos, which must also be one of the technological pillars of the Paris Games this summer, announced at the beginning of May that it was studying three of the four financial restructuring proposals received with a view to its rescue and that it wanted to find a solution with its creditors. “acceptable for them” by May 31. The company says it needs 1.1 billion euros in liquidity for its activity in 2024-2025 and wants to reduce its gross debt, which is around 5 billion, by 3.2 billion euros to safeguard its activity.

In a transpartisan forum published on Sunday, parliamentarians called “all public and economic actors to maintain Atos under the French flag to protect our strategic autonomy”. “Atos must remain French, whole, independent”insisted in particular the presidents of the LR groups in the National Assembly and the Senate Olivier Marleix and Bruno Retailleau, their socialist counterparts Boris Vallaud and Patrick Kanner as well as Fabien Roussel, national secretary of the PCF.


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