- France - nuclear power
Trade suspended for French nuclear giant Areva
French nuclear giant Areva asked to be suspended from trading on Monday in the wake of press reports about its precarious financial situation. The majority state-owned firm was expected to reveal significant losses and layoffs later in the day.
AFP - Trading in shares in French nuclear energy giant Areva, hit by the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, was suspended on Monday.
Areva, in which the French state has a majority holding and is considered a jewel of French industry, was expected to reveal major losses and job cuts later in the day, along with a new strategic plan to restructure international operations.
Areva said it had asked for the suspension shortly before the market opened in view of press comment about its financial situation, and the Nyse Euronext stock market operator immediately suspended trading.
At the close of trading on Friday, shares had been worth 20.33 euros.
Areva is a world leader in the field of nuclear energy facilities but the outlook for the sector has been heavily clouded by a switch in sentiment away from nuclear energy in some countries, notably in Germany, in the light of the disaster at Fukushima in Japan.
Press reports indicate the group is likely to make a huge exceptional charge which would push the group into a loss this year, for the first time for 10 years.
Industry Minister Eric Besson said on Sunday that Areva would probably announce a big loss, largely because of a write-down of assets.
The group was also expected to announce big job cuts, mainly in Germany after the government intervened in response to reports that the company might also cut jobs in France.
However in Berlin, a union representative for Areva staff told AFP the company's employees in Germany did not want to be taken "hostage" and suffer job cuts which the firm did not want to make in France for political reasons.
Areva employs 5,700 people in Germany.
Press reports in France suggest the firm would reduce the number of people employed in France by 1,000 to 1,200 per year by means of freezing recruitment.