Morning Round-Up: EDF director resigns, Asian shares up, Old Mutual respond to press

Hinkley nuclear plant in jeopardy?

The finance director of energy firm EDF has resigned from his position in protest against the building of an £18 billion Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.

Thomas Piquemal stepped down on Sunday after saying that going ahead with the plant could jeopardise EDF’s financial position. The French group already has rising debts, causing several Union members on the board to oppose the project for the same reason.

The resignation of Piquemal is likely to delay the plant in the short term, a project which has been cited by George Osborne as one of the only ways to ensure the lights are kept on in Britain. Last year, EDF obtained investment from the China General Nuclear Power Corporation equal to a third of the cost of the project, in exchange for a 33.5 percent stake.

EDF (EPA:EDF) shares opened 8.2% lower on Monday.

Asian shares make gains after strong China statements

Asian shares hit two-month highs on Monday after strong US jobs data and several statements from Chinese leaders that the economy was not in decline.

On Saturday Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang announced a new five-year economic plan, including an economic growth target of 6.5 to 7 percent and a moderate increase in the fiscal deficit to 3 percent of GDP this year.

This plan was backed up by comments from China’s chief economic planner Xu Shaoshi, who said that China will “absolutely not experience a hard landing”, and said recent predictions of Chinese market crash are “destined to come to nothing”.

However, the China’s National People’s Congress have lowered the economic growth target for 2016 to a range of between 6.5 percent and 7 percent.

Old Mutual shares up on clarifying statement

Financial services company Old Mutual issued a statement on Monday with regard to recent press speculation suggesting it was planning a multi-million pound break up.

The company made it clear that it was considering “all options available to it”.

“When our new Chief Executive Bruce Hemphill joined on 1 November 2015, we announced that we would be conducting a strategic review.

“We can confirm that all options for the strategic review are being considered but no decision has yet been made.”

It added that it would give an update on March 11, when it announces preliminary results. Old Mutual (LON:OML) shares have shot up 8.4 percent on the news, trading at 194.80 (0921GMT).

Miranda Wadham on 07/03/2015



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