CNNC confirms buying share in French nuclear firm

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China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) are going to obtain stakes in French nuclear company Areva while another Chinese company is thinking about creating a joint venture, a CNNC employee told the Global Times on Thursday.

Chinese nuclear companies have already shown interest in cooperating with Areva, said an employee from the CNNC who refused to be named. “CNNC has been pushing forward cooperation with Areva in processing nuclear waste and developing safety-related control systems,” he said, noting that CNNC will join French state-controlled power utility company Eléctricité de France SA (EDF) in seeking to reorganize the French nuclear sector.

EDF officially proposed to purchase the reactor business of Areva, French newspaper Le Monde reported on Tuesday. The French government owns 87 percent of Areva and 84.5 percent of EDF, according to Le Monde. Areva, however, recorded a loss of 4.8 billion euros ($5.35 billion) in 2014, which made the French government decide to restructure the country’s nuclear industry.

The French government was reportedly open to teaming up with Chinese nuclear companies like CNNC and CGN – the current partners of Areva and EDF, according to Le Monde. The French government suggested that Chinese companies could buy stakes in Areva’s affiliated business.

CNNC and CGN will buy unspecified amounts of Areva shares, the company’s employee said. However, Chengdu-based Dongfang Electric Corp is eyeing a new joint venture.

Areva recorded consolidated revenue of 1.762 billion euros in the first quarter of 2015, a decline of 1.1 percent from the same period of 2014, according to the financial report published on the company’s website on May 6.

The company’s revenue generated in France has declined 17.3 percent in the first quarter while revenue overseas has soared 15.7 percent, according to the report.

In 2014, Areva has signed a series of agreements with CNNC, including the development of a used fuel treatment and recycling facility project. The two nuclear companies plan to expand their cooperation in operational support and maintenance of facilities in the near future, according to an announcement published on the company’s website in March 2014.

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