(Adds CEO comment, background on Fennovoima project)
HELSINKI Feb 19 Finnish stainless steelmaker
Outokumpu has raised its stake in the planned
Fennovoima nuclear reactor to 12.5 percent from an original goal
of 10 percent and confirmed its commitment to a project whose
viability has been questioned by some analysts.
Fennovoima is aimed at securing cheap energy for its
investors including Finnish industrial firms such as Outokumpu
and municipal utilities. But analysts have warned some members
may withdraw due to weak finances and low energy prices.
Germany's E.ON, originally a top investor, left
the consortium in 2012 as part of a broader strategic review.
Russian nuclear firm Rosatom stepped in to take its place, but
some 20 smaller owners including Atria, Boliden
and Componenta have also dropped out.
Outokumpu said its investment in Fennovoima, to be paid over
the next decade, would be around 210 million euros, compared
with its earlier estimate of around 150 to 200 million euros.
The company's plants in Tornio are the single largest
consumer of electricity in Finland.
"We want to ensure a stable, predictable and low-carbon
energy source at production cost to our operations in Finland,"
Chief Executive Mika Seitovirta said in a statement on
It was not clear whether Outokumpu's move would persuade
others to stay. Members are expected to declare a commitment to
the project, estimated to cost up to 6 billion euros ($8
billion), at the end of this month.
Outokumpu said the increased stake did not come from a
($1 = 0.7272 euros)
(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer and Mark