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Energy Giant EDF Brings 25 Employees to Chevy Chase | Business

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Energy Giant EDF Brings 25 Employees to Chevy Chase

Kevin James Shay of The Gazette reports that as far as landing international companies goes, the process of attracting the North American headquarters of French energy giant EDF from Washington, D.C., was fairly smooth, Montgomery County economic development officials said.

"It took about six to nine months," said Bernadette Musselwhite, a county business development specialist who worked on the deal. "That's not too long for an international company. ... Management knew what they wanted. They are a very well-run company."

Executives with EDF formally welcomed county and business officials to their new North American headquarters in Chevy Chase this week. EDF International S.A. of Paris, the parent of wholly owned subsidiary EDF Inc., is one of the world's largest producers of electricity.

EDF revenues last year hit 66.3 billion euros, or about $92 billion, a 4 percent increase from 2008, according to the company's latest annual report.

EDF signed a ten-year lease for the 16,000-square-foot space at 5404 Wisconsin Place. The company has 25 employees there.

"This selection reflects EDF's decision to choose Maryland to be at the center of our growth efforts in the United States," said Jean-Pierre Benqué, president of EDF's North American operations, in a statement. "We look forward to being a strong corporate citizen in the county and the state."

The county's proximity to leading federal agencies, the availability of skilled and educated employees and diverse business community were factors in landing EDF's North American base, said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D).

Opening the Maryland office puts EDF's North American headquarters closer to Baltimore energy company Constellation Energy Group.

Last year, EDF bought half of Constellation's nuclear business for $4.5 billion.

Published reports this week detailed an alleged rift over whether Constellation will exercise an option to have EDF pay $2 billion for non-nuclear power plants. EDF and Constellation hope to partner on a third nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs in southern Maryland.

EDF officials could not be reached for comment this week.

Meanwhile, the International Baccalaureate, a nonprofit educational foundation that provides international-themed, college-preparatory curriculum to schools worldwide, plans a formal opening of its new Americas headquarters on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda on Oct. 20. The nonprofit is moving from New York City, bringing at least 55 employees to Bethesda.