Kuwait takes stake in French nuclear giant Areva

10th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Kuwait Investment Authority is to take a 600 million-euro stake in French nuclear giant Areva, representing two-thirds of an initial capital increase, the French finance ministry announced on Friday.

The recapitalisation is to be finalised on Saturday and values the strategically important Areva at 11.5 billion euros, of which the Kuwaiti fund (KIA) will control 4.8 percent, the ministry said in a statement.

"The two proposals from KIA and the State will be examined on December 11 by the supervisory board," the statement said. An Areva spokeswoman said the board would meet at 0900 GMT on Saturday.

Stock exchange authorities suspended trading in Areva shares on Friday morning with the price at 351.30 euros. Four percent of Areva is publicly traded as investment certificates with no board voting rights.

The French government holds 93 percent of Areva 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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