The European Commission has announced that anti-trust regulators have commenced investigating the restructuring of French state-owned nuclear reactor builder Areva.
Regulators are probing whether state aid laws were breached or as the Commission put it, determining ‘whether the French state’s contribution to the financing of the Areva group’s restructuring gave the company an unfair advantage not available to its competitors within the meaning of the EU rules on state aid.”
Areva has suffered over the last decade since the Fukushima incident along with the difficulty it has had in completing its first European Pressurised Nuclear Reactor.
In April, Paris notified the EU Commission of a massive restructuring plan to save the company that included a $4.4bn injection from the public coffers.
The plan also included a proposal to divest major units of the company, including Areva’s reactor unit to French energy giant EDF and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
“Given the size and importance of the restructuring of Areva, the Commission has to carefully assess that the restructuring plan is sound and that the state aid does not unduly distort competition in the Single Market,” said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in a statement.
“Our aim is to ensure a sustainable future for Areva without the need for further government support,” she added.
EDF, also majority-owned by the French state, agreed in June 2015 to purchase between 51 and 75 percent of Areva NP at a valuation of around 2.7 billion euros ($2.99bn), with the deal expected to be finalised in 2017.
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