Areva on 26 February reported a €2bn ($2.2bn) net loss for 2015 and announced further writedowns on its long-delayed EPR project at unit 3 of the Olkiluoto NPP in Finland as well as impairments related to restructuring and weak market conditions. The loss fifth consecutive annual compares with a €4.83bn loss in 2014. Areva, which is 87% owned by the French state, is in the middle of negotiating a government-backed rescue package that will see it raise €5bn in the markets. It is also selling a majority stake in its reactor making division Areva NP, valued at €2.5bn, to French nuclear group EDF.
Areva said it took a €905m charge related to the Olkiluoto 3 project, due to increased operating costs and the "probable impact" of further discussions with the customer, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), to settle various disputes over the project. The company said that if an agreement is reached with TVO, the Olkiluoto 3 contract will be transferred from Areva NP to Areva SA "within the framework of the restructuring of the French nuclear industry". It noted, "All parties consider that preliminary discussions have proceeded positively."
Revenue increased 1.9% on a like-for-like basis to €4.2bn in 2015, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 45% to €685m. At the end of 2015, Areva had a backlog of €28.9bn, down from €32.1bn at the end of 2014, which, it said, represents almost seven years of revenue. The order intake totalled €2.5bn in 2015, down from €6.7 bn the previous year. The group had consolidated revenue of €4.2bn at the end of 2015, up 6.2% year on year. Revenue in France totalled €1.7bn in 2015, up 4.6%. Areva had an operating loss of €1.4bn in 2015, compared with a loss of €2.1bn in 2014.
Areva CEO Philippe Knoche said "The group's competitiveness plan had a very positive impact on costs and cash, despite the heavy net loss situation which continues and in a market environment that remained difficult in 2015." He noted, "Half of this loss of €2bn is due to additional provisions for Olkiluoto 3 and half to provisions for restructuring and impairment related to market conditions."
In 2016, Areva anticipates a loss of €1.5-2bn from company operations. "This sharp decline is explained by the impact of the remedial measures taken, by expenses to be incurred on the large projects, and by the unfavourable change in working capital requirements," the company said. "This range takes into account the uncertainties related to operating contingencies and to the implementation of the contemplated capital structuring plans."
Areva plans to create a new group later this year - "New Areva" - that will bring together all its fuel cycle operations: mining, chemistry, enrichment, recycling, dismantling, logistics and related engineering. The company announced last month that it plans to launch a €5 billion capital increase by the first quarter of 2017. It noted, "The French state has indicated its intention of subscribing to it and ensuring its complete success, in compliance with European regulations."
Meanwhile, Areva said that it had agreed a €1.1bn bridging loan with six lending banks in order to secure the company's liquidity in 2016. Knoche said, "Concerning the group's liquidity, 2016 is funded and the capital increase which will be launched in the coming months will enable us to gradually regain the group's positive profile. A new phase awaits us in 2016, one we can enter with clarity and confidence in the implementation of the restructuring announced in 2015 and in particular the autonomy of Areva NP and the creation of New Areva."