Areva Profit More Than Doubles as Fukushima Prompted Cost Cuts

Areva SA, the world’s biggest supplier of nuclear fuel and services, reported earnings that more than doubled in 2012 as sales rose and the company slashed costs following the 2011 nuclear accident in Japan.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, excluding one-time items, rose to 1.01 billion euros ($1.32 billion) from 421 million euros a year earlier, Paris-based Areva said today. The net loss shrank to 99 million euros from 2.5 billion euros as Areva sold 1.2 billion euros of assets and booked fewer charges and writedowns.

“Areva is ahead of schedule in executing its recovery plan,” said Chief Executive Officer Luc Oursel. The company is “fully mobilized” to return to a break-even in operating cash flow before tax this year, he said.

Oursel decided in December 2011 to cut costs by 1 billion euros by 2015, sell assets and reduce investment to shore up a balance sheet that had been impaired by construction delays at a nuclear plant in Finland, soured investments in African uranium mines, and nuclear plant closures in countries such as Japan and Germany after the nuclear facility meltdown in Fukushima.

The company’s net debt rose to 3.95 billion euros at the end of 2012 from 3.55 billion euros a year earlier as its operating outflow before tax and one-time items amounted to 854 million euros.

The company’s debt should be little changed at the end of 2013 as Areva targets Ebitda of more than 1.1 billion euros, completes the sale of its nuclear measurement unit, and trims investment, Chief Financial Officer Pierre Auboin told journalists today.

Areva, controlled by the French state, invested 2.1 billion euros in 2012 to develop uranium mines, and chemistry and enrichment facilities. It plans to trim capital expenditure to about 1.7 billion euros this year, and an annual average of 1.3 billion euros in the 2014 to 2016 period, the company reiterated today.

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