PARIS, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Areva has received an offer from a New Caledonian mining group for its 26 percent stake Eramet, according to a French paper, setting up a competition with France’s strategic investment fund, which also wants the stake.
Societe Miniere du Pacific Sud (SMSP), which has mining centres in New Caledonia and a nickel plant in South Korea, sent a formal offer to Areva on Tuesday, wrote les Echos, without citing its sources.
The move comes after the FSI, France’s sovereign wealth fund, said it wanted to close the deal to buy the stake as quickly as possible.
The report did not mention a takeover price for the stake, which has a market value of about 650 million euros ($850 million).
For Areva, selling off its Eramet stake and other non-core assets is part of its new strategic plan intended to help the nuclear reactor maker cope with lower demand after the Fukishima accident in Japan.
On Monday, Areva announced plans on Monday to write off 2.36 billion euros from its accounts this year and make asset sales of 1.2 billion euros, but did not specify what activities it might sell.
SMSP Chief Executive Andre Dang told Les Echos that by obtaining a board seat at Eramet “we could negotiate ... to ultimately obtain a majority holding in SLN”, or Societe Le Nickel, which is Eramet’s nickel mining unit in New Caledonia.
The island of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory, has about a quarter of the world’s known nickel resources. ($1 = 0.7641 euros) (Reporting by Caroline Jacobs, editing by Leila Abboud and Will Waterman)