French engineering services group Assystem has offered €125m ($136m) for a 5% stake in the new Areva NP reactor unit being formed as part the broader restructuring of Areva. Assystem said on 11 May that it had made the offer to Areva and state-owned Electricite de France (EDF. Areva is in the process of selling Areva NP, which designs, makes and services nuclear reactors, to EDF as part of a government-led restructuring and recapitalisation after its equity was diminished by years of losses. The deal is set to be finalised in the second half of this year.
Assystem said the investment would be made "when New Areva NP will have been fully incorporated and the conditions precedent to its sale by Areva will have been met". The investment is part of a broader agreement with EDF "aimed at consolidating their partnership, particularly for maintenance in operating conditions activities of all civilian nuclear reactors in France and in Great Britain", it added.
The agreement also aims to create new opportunities for Assystem to take part in new build projects lead by the French nuclear industry. Its E&I division supports relevant authorities in nuclear infrastructure design, development, maintenance and dismantling projects. These include: nuclear decommissioning at Sellafield; the construction of two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point; and, assisting in the development of the Iter experimental fusion reactor at Cadarache.
EDF agreed in July 2015 to take a stake of between 51% and 75% in Areva's reactor unit in a government-backed plan to revitalise France's nuclear power industry. The European Commission approved Areva’s restructuring in mid-January, ruling that the government's plan to grant a capital injection of €4.5bn into Areva does not breech European Union state aid rules. The reactor operations to be sold have been transferred to New NP, a subsidiary wholly owned by Areva NP. Areva also began the process of splitting off its nuclear fuel cycle activities into NewCo in August 2016, combining the Areva Mines, Areva NC, Areva Projects and Areva Business Support companies and their respective subsidiaries. In January, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited agreed on the main terms of their respective acquisitions of 5% stakes in NewCo for €250m each.