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EDF takeover could hit Areva order book

Staff writer |
French state-controlled utility EDF's planned takeover of the nuclear reactor arm of Areva could hit Areva's order book as utilities may not want to buy equipment from another utility, a parliament report said.

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In June, the French government approved EDF's plan to take over debt-laden Areva's core reactor building unit, and said it would recapitalise the loss-making company.

"It is possible that nuclear plant operators would hesitate to place orders with the new Areva, which in theory could become a competitor of its own clients," said the report, which was led by Socialist MP Marc Goua and The Republicans MP Herve Mariton.

They added, however, that some potential first-time buyers of nuclear plants may prefer to deal with a company that both builds and operates nuclear plants.

The report also recommends giving the new reactor business - in which Areva would keep a minority stake - a large degree of autonomy and said other investors should be given a chance to invest in the company in order to diversify its shareholdership.

They also recommend that Areva itself - which will be refocused as a nuclear fuel group after the sale of the reactor unit - should open its capital to foreign investors, notably Chinese.

Goua and Mariton also said a final agreement about the future of Areva would have to wait for the outcome of an investigation into weak spots discovered in the steel of the vessel of a reactor under construction in Flamanville, France.

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