Kuwait boosts stake in French nuclear giant Areva

11th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Areva on Saturday approved a 900-million-euro (1.17 billion dollars) capital hike under which the Kuwait Investment Authority will hold nearly five percent stake in the French nuclear giant.

The recapitalisation values the strategically important Areva at 11.5 billion euros, of which the Kuwaiti fund (KIA) will now control 4.8 percent.

"The group's supervisory board, meeting today under the chairmanship of Jean-Cyril Spinetta, examined and approved the launch of a reserved capital increase of 900 million euros, representing 7.2 percent of its share capital at the completion of the transaction," a statement said.

It said Kuwait would supply two-thirds of the capital hike and the French state the remaining third at 300 million euros.

Areva said its outlook for 2012 included a revenue of 12 billion euros and "a double-digit operating margin."

The French government holds 93 percent of Areva -- set up in 2001 -- and discussions about attracting other investors, including Qatar and Japan's Mitsubishi, have been underway for some time.

Areva's repeatedly delayed capital increase is aimed at funding its investment plans through to 2012 and had to be concluded by the end of the year.

Talks foundered with Qatar and Mitsubishi, a major player in nuclear power generation, meaning the French state had to contribute 300 million euros to the recapitalisation in order to make the end of year deadline.

Besides building nuclear power plants, Areva last year emerged as the world's largest miner of uranium, offering a complete range of services across the sector from fuel to energy production.

© 2010 AFP

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