Interview with Bruno Lescoeur, CEO of Edison Corriere della Sera, 10 September 2013 Edison to invest €1bn in Italy

A €1bn investment in Italy, and reaching 2 million customers on the free market. Bruno Lescoeur, CEO of Edison, outlines the energy group's plan for the next three years. Edison has been active in Italy for nearly 130 years and was acquired by the French group EDF last year. Their motto? "Edison must remain a great Italian company, but joining EDF will be beneficial for the company at the same time. This new balance paves the way to a new beginning, at one of the most difficult times the energy industry has ever experienced. I am certain we have what it takes to be successful" says Lescoeur. The economic situation remains very difficult, especially in Italy. What are the Board's objectives for the coming three years?

"We have closed 2012 with positive results, especially thanks to the renegotiation of the long-term gas contracts, and to the growth of the exploration and production segment. We will be growing, both in Italy and abroad. E&P will take up most of the investments, with a view to diversifying our portfolio in countries like Norway and Great Britain,  without forgetting the Mediterranean area. As for electricity, we are considering investment opportunities in markets with a higher pace of growth, mostly in the Balkan region.

How far along is the new round of renegotiations with Libya, Qatar, Russia, and Algeria, which started in the autumn?

This is going to take some time, the question is how long. Maybe some of the proceedings will end up in arbitration. Anyway, we are in a position where we can wait until we secure favourable conditions, because we have a strong partner, and we can also benefit from a diverse portfolio. The presence of big players is crucial in this crisis, because they can guarantee the security of supply along with competitive prices for consumers.  

What are your strategies for Italy?

We are planning to invest around €1 billion within the coming three years. Most of the investment will go towards new projects in hydrocarbon E&P, and gas storage, starting from the S. Potito e Cotignola facility in Emilia Romagna. We firmly believe that the path towards renewable energy goes through hydrocarbons, and gas first and foremost.

What about the residential market?

It is one of our priorities for growth. We want to consolidate our position as number one national operator on the free market with 2 million consumers, by offering increasingly competitive and high-quality services. However, the electricity industry in Italy is experiencing a deep crisis due to a steep drop in demand. We are back to the 2004 levels, and our combined cycles are used for less than 50% against pre-crisis levels. This is why we are decommissioning three facilities, and we have started repositioning the staff from two further power plants, not owned by Edison. 

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