Chinese Firms Could Play Major Role In Areva Restructuring

Portions of French nuclear construction giant Areva could end up belonging to Chinese firms, a French newspaper reported Sunday.

Le Journal du Dimanche (The Sunday Journal) reported that China General Nuclear Power Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation were amenable to taking a stake in Areva and to other options, including joint ventures that could serve as a lifeline for the struggling company that lost $5.4 billion in 2014.

Another Chinese firm, Dongfang Electric Corporation is considering options, as well, specifically concerning Areva manufacturing plants that make “vats and generators,” Reuters reported.

In turn, Areva Chairman Philippe Varin is open to the concept of Chinese firms investing in Areva, which is 87 percent owned by the French government. Chinese firms would not take more than 10 percent of Areva's capital, Le Journal du Dimanche reported.

Areva is still working on a restructuring plan that it said would be released before July. The company has already said it would cut operating costs by $1.1 billion and keep capital expenditures under $3.3 billion by 2017.

Last week, French Economics Minister Emmanuel Macron said the restructuring should include stronger tie-in with Electricite de France (EDF). While deeper ties are expected, an EDF spokeswoman would not comment on Macron's remarks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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