March 4, 2009 / 9:09 AM / 11 years ago

Areva warns Siemens of contract breach in nuclear JV

PARIS, March 4 (Reuters) - Areva CEPFi.PA said on Wednesday former partner Siemens would breach a non-competition clause if the German company went ahead with plans to tie up with the French nuclear reactor maker’s Russian rival Rosatom.

In January, Siemens announced plans to exit its nuclear venture with Areva, a move Areva said had come as a surprise.

On Tuesday, Siemens (SIEGn.DE) and Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear company, announced a joint venture to develop Russian pressurized water reactor technology, the construction of new nuclear power plants and modernization of existing plants.

Rosatom, will hold a majority stake in the venture which will compete directly with Areva.

“Areva points out that Siemens with its 34 percent share in Areva NP has a number of compulsory obligations under the shareholders’ agreement dated Jan. 30, 2001, which in particular contains a non-competition clause,” Areva said on Wednesday.

“Areva has informed Siemens that by announcing this joint venture it is in breach of contract, with all the ensuing consequences by virtue of the shareholders’ agreement.”

Last week, Areva finance director Alain-Pierre Raynaud told Reuters it was in the “common interest” of Areva and Siemens to find an agreement on the amount Areva will pay to buy back the German conglomerate’s 34 percent stake in Areva NP.

Raynaud said a clause of non-competition from Siemens, may be “more difficult” to negotiate, adding it may also help bring down the price of the 34 percent stake. (Reporting by Marie Maitre; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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