EDF's Areva deal to shake up UK Hinkley Point ownership

LONDON (Reuters) - Plans for French utility EDF EDF.PA to buy Areva's AREVA.PA nuclear business will mean a shake-up in the shareholder structure of Britain's first new nuclear plant to be built in a generation, an official at EDF's British subsidiary said.

A view shows the Areva Tower, the headquarters of the French nuclear reactor maker Areva, at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, May 7, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

EDF is negotiating details for a takeover of struggling Areva’s nuclear business valued at 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), a deal approved by the French government but that could take months to finalise.

EDF has put forward plans for the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in southwest England in which it intends to own a 45-50 percent stake.

Reactor maker Areva was expected to cover 10 percent of the equity, while two Chinese nuclear firms will own 30-40 percent and additional stakeholders up to 15 percent.

However, an EDF takeover of Areva’s nuclear business would cancel out the 10 percent stake dedicated to the French firm, meaning the company will have to re-assess its equity structure if the deal goes through.

“The talks between Areva, EDF and the French government will have an effect on the central structure of the project,” said Paul Spence, director of strategy at EDF’s British subsidiary EDF Energy, at an industry event on Tuesday.

He declined to say whether this meant bringing a new investor on board.

EDF has yet to take a final investment decision on building the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point.

Britain’s new Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said at the same event she was confident EDF would make its decision soon.

“There’s a whole raft of different factors involved and it’s progressing nicely,” she told reporters at the conference.

Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Keith Weir