Jean-Bernard Lévy, chief executive of EDF, says a formal bid will be made for Areva this week.

In his first public comments on the subject, Lévy told Le Figaro that an offer would be made ‘within days’ for a complete takeover of Areva NP, the division that designs, manufactures and maintains nuclear reactors and also employs about 17,000 people worldwide.
JB Levy
“The more ambitious proposal from EDF will preserve the technical expertise of Areva’s reactor business and create the possibility of partnerships with outside groups from France or elsewhere,” he said.

He confirmed that a second, more limited offer, said to be preferred by the Areva management, would also be made to bring 1,200 Areva engineers who specialise in nuclear safety into EDF.

The French state, which owns 87 per cent of Areva and 85 per cent of EDF, would be able to choose between the two.

“It is up to the state, which is the majority shareholder of EDF, and Areva to decide,” Mr Levy said.

Levy added that if option one is chosen, EDF will look for guarantees to protect itself from risks such as Areva’s over-budget Olkiluoto 3 reactor project in Finland.

The French government has said repeatedly that it wants the “most efficient organisation” of the French nuclear industry and greater co-operation between EDF and Areva, and that it is examining the options.

Mr Levy is scheduled to speak to shareholders at an annual meeting in Paris on Tuesday.