(Bloomberg) -- The French government pushed back against a suggestion that it would spend 10 billion euros ($11.9 billion) buying out minority shareholders of Electricite de France SA as negotiations with the European Commission continue over plans to shore up the utility’s finances.
A spokesman for the French Finance Ministry declined to confirm that figure, while a person familiar with the government’s plans said it was significantly overstated.
Sebastien Menesplier, a leader at the CGT union, earlier told Bloomberg the government plans to spend 10 billion euros to buy out minorities as part of a broader reform to buttress EDF’s finances. Menesplier cited a presentation made by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire to union representatives on Tuesday.
Reuters first reported Le Maire’s comments. CFDT union representative Sebastien Michel also said the minister had given that figure.
The 16.3% of EDF that the government doesn’t currentlyown is valued at about 5.7 billion euros at Tuesday’s price, according to Bloomberg calculations.
(Corrects final paragraph to say minority shareholders account for 16.3% of EDF.)
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