Friday, February 3, 2017

Two japanese entering the share capital of Areva, Le Figaro

companies Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and JNFL will inject 250 million euros each in the nuclear group in exchange for an ownership interest of 10%. In the general assembly, Areva has validated the arrival of these investors.

Two japanese companies make their entrance at Areva. This Friday, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and JNFL (Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited) announced that they would invest 250 million euros each in the French nuclear group. More precisely, they enter the capital of the new Areva product of the restructuring in progress, provisionally dubbed “NewCo”, whose activities will be refocused on the uranium after the transfer of the activity of reactors (known as Areva NP) at EDF in the second half.

In a statement, MHI states that this investment will allow him to hand over 5% of the share capital of NewCo. “Through this agreement, I am delighted to be able to contribute to the reorganization of the nuclear industry in France”, commented the CEO of MHI, Shunichi Miyanaga, saying that it hoped to further strengthen this partnership via the “future investments”. The company japanese explained, in particular, be in discussions to make a similar investment in Areva NP.

Areva and MHI are not in their first cooperation. In 1991, the two groups had created a joint venture in the sector of the fuel cycle and in 2007, they have launched the development of a pressurized water reactor (PWR) of average power, Atmea-1, now proposed to electricians. The other japanese group, JNFL has also announced an investment of € 250 million to take 5% of the share capital of NewCo. “We have yet to sign a basic agreement, but we’re almost there,” said a spokesman, contacted by AFP. JNFL knows as well Areva for having adopted a large part of the technologies of the French group in its plant for the reprocessing of nuclear fuel to Rokkasho site, which is, however, still not entered into operation.

The Chinese will not participate in the rescue

This investment of 500 million euros within the framework of a capital increase for a total amount of € 5 billion, expected to save the French giant in difficulty. The State, the majority shareholder, received in January the green light under the condition of Brussels to inject 4.5 billion euros remaining. The shareholders of Areva SA in a general meeting have approved on Friday almost unanimously this capital increase of 2 billion euros.

the giant of The French nuclear industry has specified that the capital of NewCo, remained open to other strategic investors. However, the chinese group CNNC will not participate in the capital increase, ” says a source close to the folder. According to press information, France intended for investors chinese and japanese have the same participation in the capital of NewCo, while Beijing wanted to be the first shareholder behind the French State in a context of diplomatic relations strained with Tokyo. The Chinese also required a representative on the board of directors of NewCo, a claim rejected by the French State.

A timing uncertain

On the 5 billion euros which will be injected in the framework of the capital increase, $ 3 billion would go to NewCo and $ 2 billion to Areva SA, which will manage the assets to give up to their sale, and liabilities. This new structure will be responsible in particular for the execution of Olkiluoto 3 – the construction of the reactor of new generation EPR in Finland.

If it is endorsed, this double increase of capital will not, however, immediately on the rails. Indeed, the european Commission has accompanied the restructuring of the French nuclear two conditions: on the one hand, the French nuclear safety Authority (ASN) must report in accordance with the vessel of the EPR Flamanville 3 (Manche), which is currently the subject of stress tests. In addition, the merger between EDF and Areva NP must receive the approval of Brussels and justify so that it presents no problem of competition. It is difficult to know the timing of these two conditions, but according to industry observers, these records should be resolved during the first half of 2017. In the meantime, that NewCo and Areva SA to have this supply of money, the State will commit to the height of a bridge loan.

In the margin of this capital increase, the nuclear group is pursuing other projects of its restructuring. Among these, the component of assignments is almost completed. Areva is also working on a performance plan that should enable it to save a billion euro over the period 2015-2018: at the date of today, this program is already covered at a level of 75%.


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