Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (JNFL) have completed an investment of €250m ($307m) to acquire 5% stakes in Orano, the newly formed company created as part of the reorganisation of France’s Areva Group.
Orano primarily focuses on the fuel cycle business, including uranium mining, enrichment and conversion and reprocessing of used fuel. Areva began splitting off its nuclear fuel cycle activities into New Areva Holding in August 2016, combining Areva Mines, Areva NC, Areva Projects and Areva Business Support companies along with their respective subsidiaries. New Areva was renamed Orano after the sale of Areva's reactor business to EDF Group (75.5%), MHI (19.5%) and Assystem (5%) at the end of last year. The reactor business - previously known as New NP - was subsequently renamed Framatome.
Orano's board of directors met on 26 February and noted the completion of the capital increase reserved for JNFL and MHI for a total of €500m. Under the initial agreements signed with JNFL and MHI in March 2017, the funds corresponding to their total investment in Orano had been placed in trust in July, at the same time as the completion of the capital increase reserved for the French state. Orano's capital is now held by the French state (45.2%), the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission or CEA (4.8%), Areva SA (40%), JNFL (5%) and MHI (5%). In a statement, Orano said: "This transaction is the last major step in the restructuring of the French nuclear industry, undertaken in 2015, and marks the end of the constitution phase of the Orano group."
Orano's strategic action plan has three objectives: to generate more than 30% of its revenue in Asia by 2020 (up from 20%); to generate positive net cash flow in 2018; and, to ensure more than half of its staff are in service activities in 2020. Orano also plans to invest €1.8bn to modernise its plants by 2025.