* Maintenance supports revenue, despite lack of reactor sales
* 45 bln order book flat, worth nearly 5 yrs of sales
* Post-Fukushima cancellations double to 936 mln euros
* New renewables division sees sales double to 572 mln
PARIS, Jan 31 (Reuters) - French nuclear group Areva increased revenue in 2012 thanks to maintenance contracts for its large base of existing reactors, without selling a single new one.
Areva, the world’s biggest maker of nuclear reactors, said its order book was virtually unchanged at 45.4 billion euros, or nearly five years worth of sales.
Its revenue though grew 5.3 percent to 9.34 billion euros ($12.68 billion) as the reactors and services division, its largest business unit, saw sales rise 5.5 percent to 3.45 billion euros.
Key contracts included one with French utility EDF for inspections at its 58 reactors, a contract for ventilation systems with Canada’s SNC Lavalin Nucleaire, and a contract for control systems for Russian nuclear power plants.
A 10.4 percent increase in nuclear order intake compensated for 936 million euros of order cancellations following the Fukushima accident. In 2011, the firm lost orders worth 464 million euros after the March 2011 nuclear accident.
Growing demand for radioactivity measurement systems in Japan also boosted Areva’s 2012 earnings.
Areva is the world’s only reactor builder which also mines and enriches uranium, makes fuel rods and handles nuclear waste for its clients. This makes it less dependent on reactor sales, but analysts say that the firm does need to sell reactors to guarantee future maintenance and services revenue.
Delays and cost overruns at two of its European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) reactors being built in Finland and France have hurt Areva’s reputation in the reactor building business.
In October, Areva was disqualified from a key reactor tender in Czech Republic, but the firm hopes to sell two more EPRs in China and negotiations about the sale of two EPRs in India are going smoothly.
Areva’s last major reactor sale was a contract for two EPRs in Taishan, China in 2007, on track for completion in 2014.
The firm’s nuclear fuel division saw revenue slide 10.2 percent to 2.05 billion euros, hit by a fall in uranium enrichment sales to Japan and lower nuclear fuel sales to Germany. The division has a huge order book of 18.05 billion euros, unchanged at nearly nine times sales.
Areva’s uranium mining division, unsettled by kidnappings at its mines in Niger and a French military operation in neighbouring Mali, saw sales rise 5.5 percent to 1.36 billion euros, boosted by several long term-contracts with US and Asian utilities, notably Chinese utility CNNC.
With EDF, Areva signed contracts to supply 30,000 metric tons of uranium over the 2014-2035 period, and with Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) an eight-year supply contract for enriched uranium.
Areva’s recycling division, which ships, treats and recycles nuclear waste saw sales rise 9.5 percent to 1.73 billion euros.
The firm’s new renewable energies division nearly doubled its sales to 572 million euro, boosted by new offshore wind and solar contracts.