(Adds approval of capital increases)
PARIS Feb 3 Two Japanese firms agreed to buy a
combined 10 percent stake in the new company being split off
from Areva for 500 million euros ($538 million) on
Friday, helping a state-backed rescue of the French nuclear
Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (JNFL) and Mitsubishi Heavy
Industries (MHI) will take stakes in NewCo and Areva,
whose equity has been wiped out by years of losses, said NewCo
remains open to other investors.
Areva has held talks about China's National Nuclear
Corporation taking a stake in NewCo, but the two sides could not
agree on terms.
Also on Friday, two mainly state-funded capital increases of
2 and 3 billion euros were approved by shareholders of Areva and
Areva said NewCo's planned 3 billion capital increase will
be conducted in two stages. The state will first subscribe to a
reserved capital increase of 2.5 billion euros once two
pre-conditions set by the European Commission have been met.
These include European Union antitrust authorities' approval
for the planned sale of Areva's reactor business to fellow
state-owned utility EDF, as well as a positive
conclusion of nuclear regulator ASN's safety tests on an
Areva-designed reactor under construction for utility EDF in
In a second stage, once majority control of Areva's reactor
business has been ceded to EDF, the Japanese firms will
subscribe to a second capital increase of 500 million euros.
Areva SA, the legacy parent company that will remain after
NewCo is split off and the reactor unit is sold, will receive a
two billion euro capital increase from the French state.
Areva SA will remain responsible for the long-delayed
reactor project in Olkiluoto, Finland, over which Areva and its
Finnish customer TVO are suing each other for billions of euros.
It will also remain liable for any charges related to
falsifications discovered in components made by its Creusot
Forge foundry unit.
Shareholders granted the Areva board the authority to carry
out the capital increase within a period of eighteen months.
The ASN has said it will rule on Flamanville before the
summer. Closure of the EDF-Areva deal is expected in the second
half of 2017.
($1 = 0.9295 euros)
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Jane Merriman and