July 25, 2021

The French State helps Areva to settle the liabilities of the Finnish EPR

New game in the nuclear industry’s financial cap game. The State will acquire, in mid-July, 16.6% of the capital of the nuclear group Orano SA for an amount of 994.1 million euros from Areva SA and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC). This is provided for in two decrees published on Tuesday, July 6, Official newspaper. The objective: to enable Areva SA to finance the completion of the Finnish EPR construction site at Olkiluoto, whose repeated delays have resulted in a financial abyss.

In 2003, the young company Areva, created two years earlier under the aegis of Anne Lauvergeon, offered its third generation EPR reactor designed with the German Siemens at an unbeatable price (3.3 billion); he made a commitment to build it in four years (2005-2009). A very risky double bet for a seed, where we always wipe the plasters.

Cost drift to ten billion euros

The cost drift to ten billion has been absorbed by the Areva-Siemens consortium. In May, Areva SA concluded an agreement with TVO, the future operator of the plant, to reassess the costs of the plant. The company will still have to pay an additional 600 million euros to its client.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Areva’s woes in Finland will (again) cost the state more than 600 million euros

As part of the restructuring of the nuclear industry decided by the State in 2015, Areva SA saw its role confined to that of a defeasance structure. In order for it to be able to meet its commitments, it had received two billion from the State and 40% of Orano, the new company responsible for managing the fuel cycle (uranium mines, enrichment, treatment and recycling of waste …).

Of this 40%, 10% had been placed in trust with Natixis to secure a loan granted by Siemens Bank, and 10% in trust with CDC to secure a loan granted by a banking pool. The State Participation Agency (APE) says that this pool wanted to exercise its right of transfer.

With this new takeover, the State’s share in Orano will drop from 54% to 70.6% and that of Areva SA will fall to 9.4%, the balance being shared between Natixis, CDC and Japanese manufacturers. nuclear MHI and JNFL, while the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique retains action.

Amicable agreement with EDF

Areva SA has another important liability to settle. In the files opposing him to EDF, he has just reached an amicable agreement: by the end of 2021, he will pay him 563 million euros to close “All disputes”, opposing it to the electricity group for six years on major defects in the forging of heavy equipment made by Areva NP, which became a subsidiary of EDF in 2018 under the name Framatome.

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