October 3, 2015 / 7:18 PM / 3 years ago

Chinese firms eyeing 30 percent or less in Hinkley Point - report

A sign is seen outside EDF Energy's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station in Bridgwater, southwest England December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON (Reuters) - The two Chinese companies expected to help finance the Hinkley Point nuclear plant are only willing to take a 30 percent stake in the project, the Times reported on Saturday, in a blow to the site’s owner EDF (EDF.PA).

Hinkley Point project is owned by the British subsidiary of the French energy company. China General Nuclear Corp and China National Nuclear Corp had been expected to take a combined 30-40 percent stake.

However the Times reported on Saturday that the two Chinese firms were holding out for a 30 percent stake or less. EDF in Britain declined to comment.

An industrial source told Reuters on Friday that EDF hoped to sign a commercial agreement with its Chinese partners in October, but that a final investment decision on the project could take a few more weeks or months after that.

The Times quoted people close to the talks as saying the disagreement over terms was so wide that there was little hope a final investment decision could be reached in time for a visit by China’s president, Xi Jinping, to Britain on Oct. 20.

The 16-billion-pound ($24 billion) Hinkley Point project has been slow to take shape as construction delays on other EDF nuclear projects and difficulties raising financial support have pushed back the final investment decision.

Chancellor George Osborne announced 2 billion pounds in initial support last month.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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