Areva’s costs could still rise over Finnish EPR
A source at French nuclear giant Areva told ICIS Heren that costs may continue to increase at its European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) project in Finland, while uncertainty remains over the company's future chief executive.
"It's impossible to say how much Areva's liabilities will be in Finland. At the moment, they stand at around €2.6bn, but the cost of raw materials keeps increasing, so that may not be a final figure. Areva still plans to complete fuel loading at Okiluoto in 2012," said the source, who did not wish to be named.
Areva announced a full-year revenue of €9.1bn for 2010 on Thursday, rising 6.7% over the previous year. The figure was boosted by the revenue of its reactors and services division, which grew 8.9% year on year to €3.4bn.
But the company's capital structure has recently been the subject of much speculation. Last April, it was reported that Areva was seeking funds to help meet around €10bn of its investment commitments. The company is still planning to raise capital from its business partners and sovereign wealth funds to fund its new generation of nuclear power plants.
At the end of July, Areva booked hundreds of millions of euros in new charges for delays in building the first of its new EPR reactors in Finland, which is years overdue and €2.6bn in the red (see EDEM 28 July 2010).
There was no mention in the earnings report of the potential replacement of chief executive Anne Lauvergeon, whose mandate expires in June. The fate of Lauvergeon, who has expressed a desire to remain at the helm after June, has been the topic of speculation amid delays and cost overruns on the Okiluoto nuclear plant in Finland (see EDEM 26 February 2010).
However, the source said that a succession plan was underway. "There is a special process for every CEO at state-owned companies in France. When CEOs come to the end of their second mandate, a list of potential candidates will be sent to the president for his opinion. Ms Lauvergeon is on that list, but it's too early to say whether her mandate will be renewed." CN
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