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Areva to open exclusive talks with Alstom, Schneider

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Nov 30, 2009
French nuclear power giant Areva announced Monday it had decided to open exclusive negotiations with French firms Alstom and Schneider Electric over the sale of its transmission and distribution unit.

Areva said in a statement issued after a supervisory board meeting that the sale would be worth 4.09 billion euros (6.13 billion dollars).

State-controlled Areva, a world leader in nuclear power, announced in June that it was opening its capital to new investors and would sell assets to raise money for massive investments in new nuclear technology.

The Transmission and Distribution unit employs 31,000 people in more than 100 countries and accounts for nearly 40 percent of Areva sales.

Japanese high tech giant Toshiba and US conglomerate General Electric were also bidding for the unit, and Areva said the three offers it had received were "similar and all higher than the acquisition price paid five years ago."

Areva bought the unit from Alstom in 2004 for 900 million euros.

But the French offer has been criticised by Areva workers who fear it would lead to a dismantling of the unit, as Alstom and Schneider intend to operate different divisions within Transmission and Distribution.

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