France’s EDF and Areva agree nuclear reactor deal

Deal seen as crucial for France which generates three quarters of electricity from nuclear and needs Areva to service its existing reactor fleet.

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French state-controlled utility EDF is buying a majority stake in the reactor business of nuclear group Areva and will look for partners to take a minority stake, reports FRANCE 24.

The deal is crucial for France, which generates three quarters of its electricity from nuclear plants and needs to keep Areva alive in order to service its existing reactor fleet, as well as supporting its large nuclear industry with export contracts.

EDF said on Thursday it would buy between 51 percent and 75 percent of Areva's reactor arm Areva NP, while Areva would keep a maximum 25 percent. Areva said separately it would sell at least 75 percent of Areva NP to EDF for about 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion).

EDF chief Jean-Bernard Lévy told reporters that if EDF finds no other partners to invest in Areva NP it could end up with 75 percent, but potential partners had already signaled their interest.

"We expect that we will end up with a tripartite situation in which EDF owns 51 percent, Areva 25 percent and one or more partners the rest," Lévy said on a conference call.

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

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