France Alcatel is to sell off its 44 % stake in Framatome. Alcatel will reduce its stake to 14% immediately, transferring other assets largely to France’s state-owned fuel cycle company Cogema. According to Framatome Cogema, which will own 34% of Framatome, will be the company’s “industrial” shareholder. The two companies already have a partnership in fuel fabrication: together they will become a “a world leader in nuclear services” Framatome claimed. “The clarification of industrial roles in the nuclear sector will help ... the establishment and deepening of industrial partnerships and international alliances,” said industry minister Christian Pierret.
Alcatel’s remaining 14% stake will be sold in the next two years. Pierre said that Siemens appears to be a “natural partner” for Framatome, although the Swedish-Swiss company ABB may also be a possibility. Siemens has an alliance with Framatome, but has not expressed an interest in becoming a shareholder.
The French government has said the ownership changes are based on an approach which “favours industrial over the financial logic which previously prevailed”.
• French prime minister Lionel Jospin has suggested a national debate on the future of the French nuclear industry. The suggestion followed a threat made by the Green Party, junior coalition partners in the French government, to withdraw its support over government nuclear policy.