EU approves rescue of French nuclear firm Areva

Copyright EDF Mediathèque

Areva nuclear plant in Chooz, France.

EU approves rescue of French nuclear firm Areva


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EU anti-trust regulators cleared the French government’s massive restructuring of troubled state-owned nuclear reactor builder Areva.

In April, Paris notified the EU Commission of a big restructuring plan to save the national champion that included a massive payout from public funds.

State aid may be authorized under certain conditions when it contributes to an objective or common interest without unduly distorting competition.

The European Commission, which oversees competition policy in the European Union, said the state aid was subject to conditions, in particular a positive conclusion of tests on the nuclear reactor vessel Flamanville III and an approval of the divestment of Areva’s reactor business.

“The European Commission has concluded that French plans to grant a capital injection of 4.5 billion euros ($4.75 billion) to Areva are in line with EU state aid rules,” a statement said.

Areva will concentrate on nuclear fuel. Its board will meet today to determine the terms of the capital increase, on which its shareholders will vote on Feb. 3.

The new nuclear fuel group, provisionally called Areva NewCo, will get a 3 billion euros capital increase, of which 2.5 billion euros will come from the state.

Legacy Areva SA – the firm left over after NewCo splits off and the reactor unit is sold – will get a 2 billion euro capital increase and will hold the liabilities related to the troubled Olkiluoto 3 project in Finland.

Areva and its Finnish customer TVO are claiming billions of euros from one another in an arbitration suit over the project.

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