November 22, 2010 / 7:27 AM / 9 years ago

Areva's planned capital hike could stall-reports

PARIS, Nov 22 (Reuters) - French nuclear reactor maker CEPFi.PA may have to postpone a supervisory board meeting on its planned capital increase, threatening to stall the process, French dailies Le Figaro and Les Echos reported on Monday.

The three expected investors — sovereign funds from Qatar and Kuwait as well as Japanese group Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T) — have not submitted their offers yet, which may prevent the meeting from taking place early this week as planned, the papers said, without quoting any sources.

Last Monday, sources close to the matter said a deadline for offers to take part in the capital increase had been put back by a week to Nov. 22, while the board meeting was expected to be postponed to Nov. 23.

In case of a new delay, the capital increase, aimed at helping Areva fund its international expansion, could be postponed to next spring, the papers said. The French government, which owns close to 90 percent of the company, had hoped to wrap the process by the end of the year.

Areva could not be immediately reached for comment.

State-owned Areva plans a 15 percent capital hike that would enable it to finance development projects, but political hesitations and uncertainties over a possible contribution of EDF (EDF.PA), which holds 2.4 percent of Areva, have slowed the process.

On Friday, EDF Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal said the company was not in talks to participate in a capital increase for Areva. [ID:nLDE6AI0ZV]

According to Les Echos, the stalemate is due to new demands coming from Qatar’s sovereign fund. It is asking to eventually convert some or all of its future shares in Areva into a stake in the French group’s mining division, the paper said. (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by David Holmes)

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