French government completes Areva’s capital increase

16 July 2017

France’s Areva said on 12 July that the government had completed its €2bn ($2.3bn) capital increase in the company, as part of the restructuring. The reorganisation involves the sale of Areva's nuclear reactor business as New Areva NP to EDF by the end of 2017 and the transfer of the uranium mining, nuclear fuel production and decommissioning activities to a new company, NewCo.

Areva and the French finance ministry said the state would also inject €2.5bn into NewCo by 31 July, while Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Japan Nuclear Fuels Ltd would invest a total of €500m.

The sale of New Areva NP to EDF and the creation of NewCo will leave Areva with the management of the Olkiluoto 3 EPR project (OL3) in Finland, which is currently over budget and nine years behind schedule, as well as contracts relating to components forged in the Le Creusot plant.

The 2015 decision to restructure Areva was taken in the face of difficulties caused by the fall in demand for nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.  EDF agreed to take a stake of between 51% and 75% in the reactor unit, while the government granted Areva a capital injection of €4.5bn. Areva began the process of splitting off its nuclear fuel cycle activities into NewCo in August 2016, by combining the Areva Mines, Areva NC, Areva Projects and Areva Business Support companies and their respective subsidiaries.

This capital increase came after Areva fulfilled preconditions set by the European Commission (EC) in its January decision to approve the Areva group restructuring. Those included EC approval of the merger of EDF and New NP, and "favourable conclusions" from the French nuclear regulator (ASN), on the carbon segregation of the Areva-supplied reactor pressure vessel at Flamanville 3.

Areva said the capital increase was “a supplement to the income from asset sales in progress” and was intended “to enable Areva SA to meet its cash requirements and in particular to ensure the successful completion of the OL3 project".

In June, MHI and Assystem signed binding agreements with EDF to take equity stakes in New NP subject to approval by its board. MHI will take a 15-19.5% stake, and Assystem will take a 5% stake. The board approved the agreements on 12 July.

NewCo's board proposed the appointment of current Areva CEO Philippe Knoche as CEO of NewCo. The board of Areva SA proposed the appointment of Philippe Soulié as its new CEO. The appointments by decree will take effect once the NewCo capital increase has been completed, no later than 31 July. 

 



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