The French government said on Tuesday it was launching a public tender offer to buy out minority shareholders in EDF, the highly-indebted power utility that is to spearhead efforts to relaunch the country’s nuclear industry. The tender, priced at 12 per share for the 16pc in EDF not already in state hands, values the minority stake at 9.7b euros ($9.9b). The electricity provider is currently 84-percent owned by the state, with institutional and retail investors holding 15pc and staff 1pc. EDF’s finances have been weighed down by declining output from France’s ageing nuclear power stations, which it manages, and the state-imposed policy to sell energy at below cost to consumers in an effort to help them pay their energy bills. The energy crisis triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine has added to EDF’s acute difficulties and has added urgency to efforts to ensure France’ energy security. President Emmanuel Macron’s government hopes to launch the buyout in September, which gives it time to budget for the cost in a mini-budget in the autumn. The state’s complete takeover of EDF, first announced on July 6, “will give EDF the means to implement the new nuclear power plant programme the president has asked for and the roll out of renewable energy in France”, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said. Earlier this year, Macron called for a “renaissance” of the country’s nuclear industry, saying he wanted up to 14 new reactors to power the country’s transition away from fossil fuels. He also announced that he would seek to extend the lives of all existing French nuclear plants where it was safe to do so. Analysts say the government does not expect private investors to help raise the enormous sums needed to renovate and re-launch the nuclear industry, making full nationalisation the best choice. Nuclear energy currently covers some 70pc of France’s electricity needs. Nuclear was recently given a sustainable finance label by the European Union with the backing of France. EDF shares, which had been suspended on the Paris stock exchange pending the announcement, rose 15pc in morning trading to 11.75 euros, only just below the offer price, reflecting investor confidence that the buyout will go through smoothly.