New NP resurrects Framatome name

04 January 2018

New NP - the Areva NP subsidiary holding the Areva Group's nuclear reactor operations - has been renamed Framatome following its sale to EDF, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Assystem. Framatome is the name of a former French reactor vendor from which Areva was originally created.

French utility EDF agreed in July 2015 to take a stake of between 51% and 75% in Areva SA's reactor unit in a government-backed plan to revitalise the country's nuclear power industry. The restructuring includes the government granting a capital injection of €4.5 billion ($5.4 billion) into Areva. The reactor operations to be sold, together with activities relating to fuel assemblies and services to the nuclear installed base, were transferred to a subsidiary wholly owned by Areva NP, referred to as 'New NP'. Contracts for the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) EPR project in Finland and for resources required to complete that project, and some contracts relating to components forged in the Le Creusot plant, are not included in the sale. Those contracts will remain within Areva.

In May last year, French nuclear engineering company Assystem made an offer of €125 million for a 5% stake in New NP. In July, Japan's MHI formally decided to take a 19.5% stake in New NP.

Areva and EDF announced on 22 December that they had signed the definitive agreements for the sale. The agreements had been approved by their respective boards on 13 and 14 December. The agreements foresaw EDF acquiring 75.5% of New NP's capital on the basis of an adjusted valuation of €2.47 billion (for 100% of the capital), with no transfer of financial debt. The transaction was completed on 31 December.

Areva NP announced today that New NP had taken on the name Framatome. The new company has 14,000 employees worldwide and holds around 3500 patents covering some 680 inventions. It operates on more than 250 reactors worldwide.

The supervisory board of Framatome - under the chairmanship of Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and CEO of EDF - today appointed Bernard Fontana as chairman and CEO of Framatome. Fontana has served as CEO of Areva NP since September 2015. The board also appointed Philippe Braidy as managing director of Framatome.

Fontana said, "Framatome possesses unique know-how in an industry that today is and will remain key for a low-carbon energy mix. Our employees in France and around the world have been able to face considerable challenges in recent years. As we emerge from this transition phase, I share their pride and I want to thank them for all the work they have accomplished."

He added, "Steeped in rich heritage, Framatome is today one of the reference players in the nuclear sector worldwide, benefiting from unparalleled operating feedback. Our ambition is delivering a level of industrial excellence that is recognised by our customers."

In a statement, Framatome said it has "the determination to go further in terms of industrial excellence, leveraging five strategic axes: proven and sustainable expertise; performance in delivering; an agile and adaptive organisation; safe and competitive solutions; and, international development."

It added, "With an existing global fleet of some 440 reactors representing output of around 390 GWe in 31 countries, and with new nuclear capacity on its way, the nuclear market presents opportunities in the areas of components, fuel, retrofits and services."

A name from the past

Framatome - short for Franco-Américaine de Constructions Atomiques - was originally created in 1958 by Schneider, Merlin Gerin and Westinghouse Electric for the purpose of exploiting Westinghouse licensed technology in the field of pressurised water reactors.

In 1975, Framatome was selected as the sole manufacturer of nuclear power plants in France. Over a 25 year period, it supplied EDF with 58 reactors.

Germany's Siemens merged its nuclear reactor business with Framatome in 2001. Siemens held 34% of the new firm, Framatome ANP. Also in 2001, CEA Industrie - a subsidiary of the French atomic energy commission - was merged with Framatome and fuel cycle company Cogema to form the Areva group.

Framatome NP was renamed as Areva NP in 2006 in line with its membership of the overall Areva group. Siemens sold its stake in Areva NP to Areva in 2009.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News