Areva, one of the French companies at the heart of the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear project, has unveiled plans to break itself up into three parts in a bid to stem huge losses. The 87% state-owned atomic engineering and uranium mining company is hoping to raise €9bn (£7bn) from the government and from selling off assets after running up losses of €2bn last year.
Areva, a 10% equity participant in the £18bn planned new Hinkley scheme, is also using the split to isolate financial commitments to a hugely delayed project at Olkiluoto in Finland.
The two- restructuring of the group and the Hinkley scheme are not intrinsically linked,” said a spokeswoman for Areva. “The company’s restructuring programme, which includes the sale of [Areva] NP’s operations to EDF, is a positive step forward that will make the whole business and industry stronger.”
Areva, which is providing the same European pressurised water reactor for Olkiuoto as is planned for Hinkley, is currently in a standoff over competing legal claims with the Finnish utility TVO relating to the project in Finland.
A formal decision to go ahead with the investment at Hinkley has been put off until September amid internal opposition at EDF from unions and others about the wisdom of taking on such a major financial commitment.