PARIS (Reuters) - French nuclear group Areva AREVA.PA could post a loss last year of more than 3 billion euros (£2.22 billion) and is considering asset sales, French weekly newspaper Le Journal Dimanche (JDD) said.
Last week Areva said it expected to book significantly higher provisions and writedowns on assets in its 2014 accounts.
“The losses deepened in the second half,” the JDD quoted a source close to the company as saying. “They will be more than 3 billion euros for the year.”
A spokesman for Areva declined to comment on the report. Analysts on average expect the company to report a net loss of 1.14 billion euros, which compared with a net profit in 2013 of 192 million euros, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Areva swung to a 694 million euro first-half loss last year as struggling utilities cut maintenance costs and the nuclear market remained in the doldrums following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Chief Executive Philippe Knoche, appointed last month, said things got even worse in the second half of the year.
However, JDD quoted a government source as saying that there were no plans for a share issue this year. “Before shareholders can be tapped, Areva needs to be optimised,” the source said.
The JDD quoted a government source as saying that wide-ranging cost-cuts would need to be undertaken and that management generally accepted that the group needed to slim down.
More than 1 billion euros in asset sales would likely be made and the group’s mining operations could be sold although management was in favour of only selling a small stake, JDD said.
“The mines are strategic for France and have to stay within public hands but maybe not at Areva,” the paper quoted a finance ministry official as saying, adding that a new public mining company being set up could be an option.
Among other assets that could be sold were Areva’s logistics business and a unit that dismantles nuclear plants, which the paper said may interest French utility group Veolia (VIE.PA).
Meanwhile Areva is drawing up a plan to let French power utility EDF (EDF.PA) take a stake in some of its units, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters last week.
Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Greg Mahlich