France pushes EDF to raise stake in Areva: report

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The French government is pushing electricity generator EDF to increase its stake in French nuclear power group Areva from 2.4 percent to 10-15 percent, the La Tribune newspaper reported on Monday.

The French government has focused on consolidating the French nuclear power industry, a key factor in the national economy, in recent months, and the newspaper said that these efforts were being given new impetus.

The report said that the pressure on EDF to increase its holding in Areva was intended to dilute the influence of shareholder Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan.

The Franch state owns 85 percent of EDF which is the biggest producer in the world of nuclear power and provides most of the electricity used in France. Areva builds nuclear power stations in France and abroad.

The French government had resumed strategic efforts aimed at "consolidating the French nuclear team," the newspaper quoted a source close to the presidency as saying.

This could involve a reduction of the stake held by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, but a timetable was not known, the newspaper reported.

In July, Areva reported a surge in first-half net earnings to 843 million euros (1.1 billion dollars) from 143 million euros for the same period of last year.

© 2010 AFP

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