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Areva Says in Talks to Sell Stake in Eramet to French Fund

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Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Areva SA, the world’s biggest supplier of nuclear fuel and services, is in exclusive talks to sell its stake in mining company Eramet SA to Fonds Strategique d’Investissement, France’s sovereign investment fund.

The Paris-based company, which owns a 26 percent stake in Eramet, didn’t provide other details in its statement today. Eramet has a market value of 2.52 billion euros ($3.3 billion).

Areva said on Dec. 13 it will cut jobs, freeze wages and put several investments on hold in the U.S. and Africa to adapt to slower growth in demand following the reactor accident in Japan in March. Chief Executive Officer Luc Oursel, who took over from Anne Lauvergeon in June, is streamlining the company, which has invested about 10 billion euros in the last five years to prepare for a boom in nuclear demand.

The CEO plans to sell at least 1.2 billion euros of financial, mining and other assets by the end of 2013 to shore up Areva’s finances as Standard and Poor’s threatens to cut the company’s BBB+ credit rating.

Oursel said in October that it was up to the French government, Areva’s main shareholder, to decide whether and to whom Areva might sell its stake in Paris-based Eramet. He called the holding “mainly a financial asset.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Taylor in Paris at staylor8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Taylor at staylor8@bloomberg.net