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Areva capital increase approved

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Dec 24, 2010
Shareholders in the French nuclear energy group Areva have approved a 900-million-euro (1.2-billion-dollar) capital increase, the company said in a statement.

The increase, approved on Thursday, includes a 600-million-euro investment by the Kuwait Investment Authority.

The Kuwaiti sovereign fund will acquire a 4.8 percent stake in Areva, becoming the company's third largest shareholder, after the French atomic energy agency and the government.

The French state subscribed to the remaining 300 million euros.

Standard and Poor's warned earlier this month that it would likely downgrade France's state-owned nuclear services group as the 900 million euros in fresh capital was significantly less than it had expected.

However, the French government has said that Areva's sale of non-strategic assets had, along with the capital increase, raised 6.3 billion euros in funds to invest in the company's development.

The capital increase portends major changes for the French state-controlled company as the Kuwaiti Investment Authority insisted Areva's shares be listed on the stock exchange, which should occur in the first quarter of 2011.

So far only a small fraction of the company's capital, in the form of investment certificates which are more difficult to trade, have been listed on the stock market.

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