Qatar investment in Areva hangs in balance

Qatari PM meets Sarkozy over stake in nuclear group.

French president Sarkozy is pressing for a capital increase at Areva.
French president Sarkozy is pressing for a capital increase at Areva.

Qatar’s prime minister met his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy this week in an attempt to resolve the stalemate over the proposed investment in Areva, the French state-owned nuclear group, writes the Financial Times.

France wants Areva to undergo a capital increase, which would see 15 percent of the group sold to the sovereign wealth funds of Qatar and Kuwait, as well as its main Asian partner, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry.

The move is intended to give Areva more traction in the GCC and Asia, but Qatar has become concerned over the future value of the group, and has sought guarantees to protect its investment.

It has proposed an option in shares in Areva’s uranium mining division, something which the French are reluctant to grant.

Sarkozy’s efforts are also hamstrung by the ambitions of state-owned utility EDF to gain control of Areva, writes the FT. The president wants the utility to increase its 2.4 percent, but EDF are said to demand a board seat, something that is unacceptable to Areva.

EDF are also reluctant to pursue a capital increase including Mitsubishi as an investor, which might lead to Japanese company to break its ties with Areva, says the paper.


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