To finance its long-term development plan, French state-owned nuclear group AREVA is to open up its capital to new strategic partners and its employees. It also plans to sell off its transmission and distribution division, a business transferred to Areva in 2004 as part of the rescue operation for engineering group Alstom. Shareholders have supported the move by accepting a dividend based on 25% of profits for the next three years. In the share sale 15% of Areva’s capital stock is to be sold off to approved buyers including its employees.
Areva is enjoying major growth, thanks mainly to the increase in demand for solutions to generate CO2-free electricity. Its directors, backed by its supervisory board, now wish to ‘continue to reinforce its position as leader in the nuclear market and to make further inroads into the renewable energies market’. Translated, that means that Areva is in need of cash to fund its international expansion and compete with Toshiba-owned Westinghouse Electric and Russian group Atomenergoprom.
In February Areva unveiled a r2.7 billion investment plan. At the time it maintained that it would not sell off its T&D activities. But that is now a valuable asset and it makes sense to capitalise on the success of the group’s renewal strategy for the unit, which has enjoyed rapid growth since its acquisition. An open call for bids will be launched, and the group ‘will pay special attention to the price offered and also the industrial and labour projects’. Depending on the interest generated, the decisions to dispose of T&D or not, and the choice of a potential buyer, will be taken before the end of the year.
Former owner Alstom, which has also undergone a transformation since its rescue, is one of the interested bidders for T&D.