Electricite de France SA has asked four independent board members to review the strategic and financial implications of any deal with money-losing Areva SA.
EDF, a nuclear plant operator, is in talks with Areva following record 2014 losses by the reactor builder. Under a government-backed plan for the state-controlled companies, EDF would acquire Areva’s nuclear-reactor and engineering businesses to shore up the unprofitable company, people with knowledge of the matter said last week.
“We will defend EDF’s interests,” Chief Financial Officer Thomas Piquemal said on a conference call Tuesday.
The group culled from EDF’s board is led by Colette Lewiner, an energy adviser at Cap Gemini SA. It also includes Laurence Parisot, the former head of French business group Medef, Vallourec SA Chairman Philippe Crouzet and Lafarge SA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bruno Lafont.
The group will “make its recommendations based on its independent analysis and any decision will be taken in the best interest of all stakeholders,” Piquemal said. He declined to give any details about the talks with Areva or when they may be completed, noting that CEO Jean-Bernard Levy may speak about the issue next week at an annual shareholders meeting in Paris.
EDF shares dropped earlier this year when French ministers first raised the possibility that it would be part of a turnaround plan for Areva. Areva’s net loss widened to a record 4.83 billion euros ($5.42 billion) in 2014, and the company said last week it will reduce global staff by as much as 6,000 over three years as part of a plan to cut costs by 1 billion euros by 2017.