Areva raises outlook on improved nuclear prospects

PARIS, July 26 Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:05pm EDT

PARIS, July 26 (Reuters) - Areva, the world's biggest maker of nuclear plants, raised its outlook for the year after first-half earnings exceeded its own expectations thanks partly to revenue growth in its nuclear business and the effects of its restructuring.

Its improved earnings outlook includes expectations for core earnings exceeding 950 million euros ($1.15 billion) instead of Areva's earlier target of more than 750 million. The state-controlled group also sees revenue growth of 4 to 6 percent in the nuclear business against 3 to 6 percent before.

"In view of this encouraging performance in the first half of 2012 and early achievement of certain objectives of our "Action 2016" plan, we are able to revise our financial outlook upwards for the year 2012 as a whole," Chief Executive Luc Oursel said in a statement on Thursday.

Areva's backlog rose 2.1 billion euros in the first half of the year to 45.2 billion, with order intake up 14 percent compared with the same period in 2011 when Japan's nuclear accident, caused by natural disasters, led to cancelled orders and put a lid on demand for nuclear energy. ($1 = 0.8248 euros) (Reporting by Caroline Jacobs; Editing by James Regan)