(Adds detail, background)
PARIS May 20 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)