The UK’s Financial Times has reported that the French government is considering selling 15% of its 90% stake in Areva to raise EUR2.8 billion, quoting unnamed sources.

It also reported that Areva partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries would also take a stake in the company.

An Areva spokeswoman had no comment on the report.

In a statement on 30 June the company said:

The AREVA group’s Supervisory Board met today under the chairmanship of Jean-Cyril Spinetta and finalized the steps to be taken to finance the group’s long-term development plan.

World leader in the civil nuclear field, AREVA is enjoying major growth thanks to its integrated model and the increase in demand for solutions to generate CO2-free electricity. In order to continue to reinforce its position as leader on the nuclear market and to make further inroads into the renewable energies market, AREVA needs to invest and recruit, while maintaining a healthy balance sheet.

This is why, based on a proposal from the Executive Board, the AREVA Supervisory Board has decided to open up its capital to strategic and industrial partners, to the value of 15%, mainly by increasing its capital. This increase will be open to investment certificate holders. The group is launching an employee shareholders program.

The Supervisory Board has also asked the Executive Board to put the group’s Transmission and Distribution (T&D) division up for sale. An open call for bids will be launched and the group will pay special attention to the price offered and also the industrial and labor projects.

Depending on the interest generated, the decision to dispose of T&D or not and the choice of a potential buyer will be taken before the end of the year.

AREVA is also considering disposing of its stakes in Eramet and ST Microelectronics. In any case, these stakes will remain in the public sector because of their strategic nature.

AREVA is also set to continue its cost reduction program and to improve operational performance.

Shareholders have shown their support by agreeing to a new dividend payout rate of 25% of the group’s share of net income as of 2010 and for a period of three years, given the scale of the AREVA program.

Commenting on these decisions, Jean Cyril Spinetta says “Through the strategy in place since 2001, AREVA has become the reference in its field. Solutions for generating CO2-free energy – its core business – have undisputed prospects for growth. The group must be able to pursue an ambitious investment program to take advantage of its growth. The plan that has been finalized by the shareholders will completely enable it to do so.”

Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of AREVA says: “Our shareholders’ continued support for our strategy is a tremendous honor and puts an obligation on us. This financing will enable us to maintain our lead and meet the growing needs of our current and future customers.”

With regard to the disposal of the T&D activity, Anne Lauvergeon added “This only became an option because of the remarkable work of the T&D teams who, spurred on by AREVA, pulled off a remarkable industrial turnaround. T&D joined the group in 2004 and is enjoying rapid growth and creating value and there is no reason why this should change.”

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