Assystem makes offer for 5% stake in New Areva NP

11 May 2017

CORRECTION - An earlier version of this story said Assystem has offered to buy a 5% stake in Areva NewCo. It has in fact offered to buy a 5% stake in New Areva NP.

French nuclear engineering company Assystem has made an offer of €125 million ($136 million) to Areva and EDF to take a 5% stake in Areva's nuclear reactor business, referred to as 'New Areva NP'. French utility 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. Strategic investors will be able to take minority stakes in the business.

The European Commission approved the restructuring of the Areva group in mid-January, ruling that the French government's plan to grant a capital injection of €4.5 billion into Areva does not breach European Union state aid rules. The reactor operations to be sold have been transferred to a subsidiary wholly owned by Areva NP, referred to as 'New NP'. Areva 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 €250 million each.

Dominique Louis, Assystem chairman and CEO, said: "We want to be part of the upcoming successes through our commitment along with EDF to invest in the capital of New Areva NP. Benefitting from growing markets, we are confident in our ability to accelerate the development of all our Energy & Infrastructure (E&I) division activities within the context of the digital and energy transitions."

It said its €125 million offer is "based on a valuation consistent with that drawn up between EDF and Areva for the stake held by EDF (i.e. a value for 100% of the capital of €2.5 billion, on a debt-free cash-free basis, not including the effect of potential prices adjustments)". The investment, the company said, 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.

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by World Nuclear News