PARIS, March 13 (Reuters) - A likely debate about the future of nuclear power in the aftermath of damage to reactors in Japan following a massive earthquake and tsunami could impact the prospects of French nuclear groups.
This is a list of key facts on these three groups, which are all controlled or partially owned by the French state: nuclear reactor maker Areva CEPFi.PA, gas and electricity group GDF Suez GSZ.PA and former nuclear power monopoly EDF (EDF.PA).
* The world’s biggest nuclear reactor maker, with a market capitalisation of just over 13 billion euros ($18 billion), full-year revenues of 12 billion euros, an order book of 44 billion euros on Dec. 31, and 48,000 staff worldwide.
* Areva is more than 90 percent owned by the French state.
* Anne Lauvergeon has been CEO since 2001, but she could be replaced in June when her mandate expires amid French media reports that President Nicolas Sarkozy is opposed to her staying after project issues and a spat with the head of power giant EDF. She was ranked by magazine Forbes as the world’s 9th most powerful woman in 2008. [ID:nLDE7171WD] [ID:nLDE7171XM]
* Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund KIA agreed in December to take a 600 million euro stake in Areva, or 4.8 percent, as part of a capital increase.
* Areva has signed a memorandum of understanding with India to build 2 reactors, with an option for 4 more, and it was picked by Enel and EDF to provide at least 4 reactors in Italy. It is in the process of licensing its 1,600 MW EPR reactor in Britain and the United States. It is also developing a less expensive 1,100 MW next-generation reactor Atmea.
* The world’s biggest producer of nuclear power, with a market cap of 57 billion euros, sales of 65 billion euros in 2010, and 169,000 staff worldwide.
* Operates 58 reactors in 19 plants in France. EDF is building a next generation reactor (EPR) in Flamanville, northwestern France, and plans to build another in Penly.
* EDF is 84.5 percent owned by the French state.
* Henri Proglio, who is reportedly close to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was appointed at the head of EDF in November 2009. He has called for, and obtained, the leadership of French nuclear industry’s bids abroad since France lost a landmark $40 billion nuclear deal in Abu Dhabi in December 2009.
* Proglio has called for the breakup of Areva, leading to a public spat with Areva’s Lauvergeon.
* EDF bought British Energy for 13.5 billion euros in 2008 It has agreed with Enel on feasibility studies for 4 nuclear plants in Italy.
* Last year, it settled a dispute with U.S. partner Constellation Energy Group CEG.N over their nuclear project that could have cost EDF up to $2 billion [ID:nN26180877], and the French group sold its 45 percent stake in Germany’s Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg (EnBW) (EBKG.DE) for 4.7 billion euros.
GDF SUEZ * The world’s biggest utility since its recent acquisition of a 70 percent stake in Britain’s International Power IPR.L. GDF Suez has market cap of 61 billion euros, sales of 84 billion euros, and 214,000 staff worldwide.
* Its rivals are EDF, E.ON, Enel.
* Its main shareholders are the French state, with over 35 percent of its capital, followed by Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, Capital Research Global Investors, CDC and Areva.
* Former Suez CEO Gerard Mestrallet heads GDF Suez.
* Operates 7 nuclear plants in Belgium.
* GDF Suez pulled out of plans to operate a next-generation EPR nuclear power plant in Penly, northwestern France, which sources close to the matter attributed to the fact that GDF Suez was forced to take a back seat in the EDF-led project. It has since then called on the French government for the authorisation to build an Atmea reactor in the Rhone valley.
* GDF Suez has partnered with Spain’s Iberdrola (IBE.MC) and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE.L) in a bid to build new-generation nuclear reactors in Britain. (Reporting by Marie Maitre; Editing by Matthew Jones)