France is resisting Chinese attempts to gain a strategic foothold in its nuclear industry, blocking a request by the China National Nuclear Corporation for a seat on the board of one of its state-backed companies. The power struggle is being played out at Areva, the power station developer behind the £18 billion project at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Confronted by 7 billion euros of debts, the company is set to be split up. EDF, its French peer, will purchase its reactor division for 2.5 billion. Areva SA, the parent company, will retain control of a disaster-ridden project to build a reactor in Finland of the same kind that is planned for Britain. A new business, NewCo, is being created to run Areva’s nuclear fuel and uranium mining activities. Philippe Knoche, chief executive of Areva, said two investors, understood to be Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Nuclear Fuel, had made offers totaling 500 million to take a 5 per cent stake each in the new company. A source said that talks were continuing with CNNC, which also wants to take a stake in NewCo, but its request for a seat on the board has set alarm bells ringing in Paris.
Times 19th Dec 2016 read more »