The State shareholder will be able to inject up to 4.5 billion euros in the nuclear group, in great difficulty.
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The european Commission announced, Tuesday, January 10, that it gave its green light to the recapitalization of Areva, thus removing a major mortgage in the process of restructuring the nuclear group, in great difficulty. It matches, however, two important conditions.
The name of the rules on concentrations, EDF will have to ask permission from Brussels for the buyback (€2.5 billion) of the activity of manufacturing and maintenance of reactors (Areva NP).
Another important condition : the vessel of the EPR of Flamanville (Manche), to be forged in the factory Creusot Forge by Areva NP and with an excessive concentration of carbon, must be considered good for the service by the nuclear safety Authority. It will decide in the first half. EDF claims that its own tests confirmed the resistance of this key element of the safety of the plant.
Acquisitions hazardous and additional costs Finnish
The european competition authorities indicate that ” the project of France to grant aid to Areva in the form of a capital injection of 4.5 billion euros is in accordance with the rules of the european Union in the field of State aid “. Overall, they add, ” the restructuring plan will enable the company to become viable without unduly distorting competition in the single market “.
In fact, the recapitalisation of the overall Areva will be 5 billion euros, but the consortium japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited has already made a firm offer to inject $ 500 million into the new Areva.
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The group must be split into two separate companies, a “spin-off” necessitated by its situation of quasi-bankruptcy. Created in 2001 by the marriage of Framatome and Cogema, it has accumulated € 10 billion in losses between 2011 and 2015, and carries a debt of $ 7 billion, a financial situation due to acquisitions and risky (the mining company UraMin in 2007) and the additional costs of the EPR reactor at Olkiluoto (OL3) built in Finland.
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Referred to as NewCo, and owned two-thirds by the State, “the new Areva” will house more than the fuel cycle : the extraction and enrichment of uranium, recycling of waste, decommissioning of nuclear power plants. It will benefit from a recapitalisation of $ 3 billion to strengthen its balance sheet and ensure its development, including $ 500 million japanese partners. In the meantime a possible contribution of the chinese China National Nuclear Corporation, with which the Agency of the interests of the State leads to tough negotiations.
For its part, Areva SA will handle the enormous liabilities of the group, of which the OL3, and there will be 2 billion euros exclusively paid by the State. With regard to Areva NP, which is developing the EPR (1 750 MEGAWATTS), and Atmea (1,100 MW), while ensuring the maintenance and optimization of more than half of the reactors in the world, it must pass under the control of the EDF by the end of 2017, if Brussels agrees to the operation.
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Brussels reassured by the interest in japanese
The board of directors of Areva, on Wednesday, January 11, will take note of the green light from the european Commission. He will confirm the convening of a general meeting, the February 3, 2017, to approve the capital increase of Areva SA. Another general meeting should be held in the same period for the recapitalization of NewCo.
It was an emergency : the leaders of Areva recognizing that the company will not 2017 without additional money. But to obtain the agreement of the Commission, the State shareholder should bring him the evidence that he is a shrewd investor and he is not trying to save costs a lame duck through a State aid in disguise.
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the interest of The japanese consortium for the new Areva restructured has reassured Brussels of its viability. The group had given as early as 2016 other pledges of his will to recover : plan to save drastic, removal of more than 5,000 jobs in the world, disposal of Areva NP for € 2.5 billion and sales of other assets, such as Canberra (devices of measurement of radioactivity), Adwen (renewable energy) and Areva TA (engines of nuclear submarines in French).