MHI agrees to take 19.5% stake in New NP

01 August 2017

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has formally decided to invest in Areva's reactor operations and signed investment agreements with both Areva Group and EDF to take a 19.5% stake in New NP.

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 ($5.1 billion) into Areva. The reactor operations to be sold have been 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. The sale price for 100% of New NP's equity was confirmed at €2.5 billion.

MHI said it had been "mulling investment into Areva NP" since September 2015. Earlier this month, MHI and French nuclear engineering company Assystem signed binding agreements with EDF to take equity stakes in New NP. Subject to approval by its board, MHI was to take a stake of 15% - and potentially up to 19.5% - in New NP, while Assystem will take a 5% stake.

MHI announced yesterday it will take a 19.5% equity stake in New NP. The company said it will continue to coordinate with EDF and Areva toward closing the transaction, expected at the end of this year.

In January, MHI agreed to acquire a 5% stake in NewCo, which will combine Areva's nuclear fuel cycle activities, for €250 million.

MHI president and CEO Shunichi Miyanaga said, "For many years MHI has been a key player in cooperation bbetween Japan and France in the development of nuclear power generation technologies, and we have high hopes and expectations that this new structure will deepen and expand our ties of cooperation."

In 1991, MHI and Areva formed a joint venture in the nuclear fuel cycle business, and in 2006 they concluded an agreement on broader collaboration in the field of nuclear energy. That agreement led to the creation in 2007 of the Atmea 50-50 joint venture, set up to develop, market, license and sell the 1100 MWe Atmea-1 pressurised water reactor combining both companies' technologies. An informal agreement was concluded in 2013 for construction of a four-unit nuclear power plant in Sinop, Turkey, based on the Atmea-1.

In addition, in 2009 Areva and Mitsubishi agreed to establish a joint venture company in the nuclear fuel fabrication business. The new company was established by restructuring the existing Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel (MNF) company, with Areva NP taking a 30% stake in the new company.

Since 2005, the Japanese company has received orders for 15 replacement steam generators for French nuclear power plants operated by EDF. In June 2016, MHI and EDF signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. The MOU calls for EDF's marketing, technological and other support of Atmea's business, as well as broad-based cooperation in global markets making use of the two companies' technological capabilities and specialised strengths.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News