Talks with Chinese investors in Areva focus on governance -French minister

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 11, 2017 16:25 hrs
A view shows the Areva Tower, the headquarters of the French nuclear reactor maker Areva, at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris

By Geert De Clercq

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government's talks with Chinese investors about taking a minority stake in nuclear fuel group Areva NewCo, which is being split off from Areva , are focusing on governance, French Industry Minister Christophe Sirugue told Reuters on Wednesday.

Areva said last month that two investors have made a 500 million euro ($526.40 million) offer for a combined 10 percent stake in NewCo.

It has not specified who they are but a source familiar with the situation said the two investors are Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries <7011.T> and JNFL. Talks are continuing with China's National Nuclear Corporation about also taking a minority stake in NewCo.

"These talks are continuing and focus on governance issues, and on the issue of the balance between the different third-party investor parties," Sirugue told Reuters in an interview.

He added that the potential representation on the board of the company is an important issue in the talks, as well as that of the balance between third-party investors.

Sirugue said he discussed the governance issue with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai during his visit to France in November.

Earlier this week, European Union antitrust regulators approved the French government's plan to inject 4.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion) into embattled nuclear group Areva, saying the rescue would not unduly distort competition. [nL5N1F03Y4]

The ruling will allow Areva, whose equity value has been hit by years of losses, to restart as a smaller firm focused on uranium mining and nuclear fuel production and recycling.

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, which has been hit by delays.

($1 = 0.9498 euros)

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

More from Sify: