Areva head says Mitsubishi Heavy might buy small stake
Japanese group Mitsubishi Heavy Industries could buy 2.0 percent of French nuclear engineering group Areva, marking a "strong symbolic" move, head of Areva Anne Lauvergeon said on Friday.
Lauvergeon told French BFM radio: "If they take a small shareholding in Areva of about 2.0 percent, that would be something symbolically strong for future alliances."
But this outlook was not at all on the scale of the links between French auto group Renault and Nissan of Japan, she said.
Areva, a world leader in building nuclear power stations, which is controlled by the French state, announced in June last year that it would open up 15 percent of its capital.
In July this year the French presidential office said that this would happen by the end of 2010.
Sovereign wealth funds in Qatar and Kuwait, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have been mentioned as likely shareholders.
On Thursday, Patrick Kron, head of the French industrial group Alstom which also builds power stations, said that he saw any entry of MHI into Areva as seriously problematic because the Japanese company was a direct competitor for Alstom.
Lauvergeon acknowledged that Alstom and MHI competed in building turbines, but played down the impact of any shareholder agreement for sales of turbines by Alstom.
© 2010 AFP