Siemens, Areva end nuclear JV, legal spat goes on

FRANKFURT/PARIS April 11 Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:52am EDT

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FRANKFURT/PARIS April 11 (Reuters) - Engineering group Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and France's Areva CEPFi.PA have ended their nuclear joint venture, though the breakdown of their relationship has still to work its way through the courts.

Both Siemens and Areva confirmed a media report saying that Areva had bought 34 percent of Areva NP from Siemens for 1.62 billion euros ($2.34 billion), effective March 18. [ID:nLDE7390BY]

An arbitration court and the European Commission have yet to make rulings on the issue.

The price tag was previously determined by independent experts, but the value of Siemens's stake in Areva NP is still subject to a final ruling by the arbitration tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris.

An Areva spokeswoman said the arbitration process would determine whether Siemens had broken its shareholder pact with Areva by discussing a nuclear alliance with Russian Rosatom, an alliance that has been put on hold pending that ruling.

If the ruling is favourable to Areva, Siemens could pay a penalty, based on a percentage of the Areva NP price.

In addition, Siemens has called upon the European Commission to overturn a non-competition clause that would prevent the German company from competing with Areva for eight years.

Overturning the clause in its agreement with Areva would enable Siemens to offer its own nuclear plant technology.

However, in the light of events in Japan last month, where an earthquake and tsunami led to radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Siemens CFO Joe Kaeser said in an interview with German daily Der Tagesspiegel that nuclear power should be reassessed.

"Fukushima has to be the cause for a review of the situation," Kaeser said, adding that "the world needs to do some soul-searching".

"How can we evaluate the remaining risk, which in all likelihood will not come into effect but if it does may not be containable?" Kaeser said.

Siemens said last month it expected the sale of its stake in Areva NP to make a significant contribution to profit in its fiscal second quarter this year.[ID:nLDE72E0J0] (Reporting by Jens Hack in Munich and Benjamin Mallet in Paris; Writing by Nicola Leske; Editing by Will Waterman) ($1=.6916 euros)

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