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French Government Plans Areva Sale « Back
Muazzin Mehrban, June 2009
(26 June 2009)

The French government is preparing to sell up to 15 percent in its nuclear power generating unit, held by Areva, to buyers in the Middle East and Asia. The move is part of plans to raise €2bn to fund its future development. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Areva’s partner in Japan, is the favourite to take the stake, according to the Financial Times.

But the government is also in discussions with sovereign wealth funds, particularly Mubadala, which is based in Abu Dhabi.

Areva’s investment needs have been labelled as urgent by some analysts, who say the capital is needed to satisfy the rising number of orders for reactors and to modernise its ageing French facilities.

Furthermore, France is also looking to sell its transport and distribution subsidiary, which supplies equipment to power grid operators. Bought for €900m from Alstom in 2004, the unit is now expected to fetch over €3.5bn.

Areva chief executive, Anna Lauvergeon had initially opposed sale of the transport unit, arguing that it generated much needed cash flow. However, newly appointed chairman, Jean-Cyril Spinetta, concluded it was not part of Areva’s core business, and was not in line with the government’s strategy of concentrating ownership in nuclear power. 

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