Areva head opposes new capital increase

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The head of French nuclear group Areva voiced opposition Tuesday to a fresh capital increase, insisting the company had sufficient liquidity following a 900-million-euro (1.17-billion-dollar) capital hike last week.

"Do we need a second round?" Areva chief executive Anne Lauvergeon asked in remarks before the National Assembly's economic affairs committee.

"It is clear today that we have no liquidity problems.

"We have carried out three bond issues and we have debt to repay starting in 2016. We therefore have no acute problematic issues even if the markets were to become unsettled again."

Areva's supervisory board on Saturday approved a 900-million-euro capital hike under which the Kuwait Investment Authority would hold a nearly five percent stake.

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

Areva said its outlook for 2012 included 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 under way for some time.

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

Press reports have said the French government has not ruled out a second capital hike next year in which French groups EDF and Alstom and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries could take part.

© 2010 AFP

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