PARIS, June 28 French nuclear group Areva
said private equity firm Astorg Partners has decided
to abandon the purchase of its U.S. nuclear radiation
measurement unit, a setback to the reactor maker's debt
Sources close to the negotiations told Reuters in October
that Astorg's offer valued the measurement unit -
Connecticut-based Canberra - at 310-350 million euros ($141.08
billion) but final terms were never announced.
Areva said Astorg dropped out of the deal because no
suitable financing was available.
But a source familiar with the situation disputed that,
telling Reuters the credit arm of private equity firm Blackstone
had been ready to finance the deal through a unitranche
loan - an alternative to syndicated leveraged loans mainly used
by small- and medium sized borrowers.
Astorg declined further comment on the deal.
The transaction, which was announced on April 3, had been
expected to close in the first half of this year and was part of
Areva's ongoing asset disposal plan aimed at reducing debt to
allow it to invest elsewhere.
Areva said on Friday that its 1.2 billion euro ($1.6
billion) disposal target for 2012-13 still stood. The company
said in April that the sale of Canberra would enable it to
"greatly exceed" that target.
Canberra generated sales of around 250 millions euros last
year and employs 1,050 people. ($1 = 0.7691 euros)