Areva Plans to Cut Thousands of Jobs

Areva Plans to Cut Thousands of Jobs

Beleaguered French nuclear engineering firm Areva SA plans to reduce its global payroll by between 5,000 and 6,000 jobs as part of a cost-cutting effort after years of losses.

The largely government-owned company has opened talks with labor unions to find ways to cut its payroll through voluntary departures, Areva’s head of human resources François Nogué said Thursday, according to a company spokeswoman.

The company’s job cuts include shedding between 3,000 and 4,000 positions in France. All in all, the company seeks to reduce its labor-cost by 15% in France and by 18% abroad. The company currently employs 44,000 workers in more than 30 countries.

“We knew this was coming, but the impact is harsh,” said Jean-Pierre Bachmann, the CFDT union representative for Areva.

The job cuts are part of a wide effort carried out by the company to turn around its finances after it booked a massive 4.8 billion euro ($5.4 billion) net loss in 2014, its fourth consecutive annual loss.

Back in March, Areva had announced it would cut costs elsewhere, reduce capital expenditure and sell assets to raise cash.

Given Areva’s fragile situation, the French government, which controls more than 85% of the firm, has asked the management to work with power utility Electricité de France to find a solution to help the nuclear firm, including a possible takeover of some of Areva assets by EDF.

French utility Engie , formerly known as GDF Suez, also has said parts of Areva looked attractive.

Over the past years, Areva has suffered from huge cost overruns at its two largest projects in Finland and in France, bad investments in uranium mines and a general slump of demand for new nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster four years ago

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Date: May 2015

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