UPDATE 1-Areva CEO says ready to study deal for Alstom wind unit
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PARIS May 20 (Reuters) - French nuclear group Areva could be interested in a deal for Alstom's wind turbines unit, its CEO said on Tuesday, while adding Areva was not directly involved in talks over the possible sale of Alstom's energy business.
"Concerning the wind activities, if any opportunities were to arise in the future, and given Areva's ambitions in renewable energy, we would be ready to examine any possibilities," Areva CEO Luc Oursel told a parliament hearing about nuclear energy.
In a letter to French President Francois Hollande, General Electric said last month that if it were to buy the energy unit of Alstom, it would be willing to sell Alstom's wind turbine activities to French investors.
Alstom and state-controlled Areva both sell offshore wind turbines, and are part of different consortia that have won tenders to build offshore wind parks on the French coast.
Alstom also produces onshore wind turbines, but that activity is not believed to interest Areva as it is a highly competitive and mature industry.
Siemens, which is expected to make a counter bid for Alstom, is Europe's main player in offshore wind turbines.
Oursel also said that Areva had told the French government that Alstom was an essential supplier for Areva's core nuclear business, as Alstom's turbines are used in five of the six Areva EPR reactors that are under construction or projected.
"It is absolutely essential that we have the possibility to continue to work with this turbine, as it is particularly appreciated by our clients," Oursel said. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Mark Potter)