Source AP ©

Nuclear engineering firm Areva has 295 million euro profit

French nuclear engineering group Areva's profit rose in the first half of 2007 to 295 million EUR(US$403 million).

The company also confirmed its 2007 aims of strong revenue growth, a strong rise in operating profit and pursuit of its investment program.

Areva said first-half operating profit gained 80 percent to 207 million EUR(US$282 million), paced by the transmission and distribution division, whose operating profit surged to 175 million EUR(US$238 million) from 72 million EUR a year earlier. The company did not give details about the increase.

It said that work on the Olkiluoto 3 reactor project in Finland "is moving forward at a brisk pace." The company disclosed, however, that it added to its provisions for business risks for the project.

"The (provision) slowed the operating income growth expected in the first half, but does not affect our objectives for the year. Our goal is to achieve operating margin of 5 percent for 2007 as a whole," Chief Executive Anne Lauvergeon said in a statement.

While the company did not disclose the size of the addition to provisions, it did say earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell to 451 million EUR(US$615 million) in the first half from 534 million EUR a year earlier, impacted by the Finnish reactor project.

Areva said its backlog of orders grew 31 percent in the first half to 33.55 billion EUR(US$45.78 billion).

"All group performance measures were up in the first half of 2007," Lauvergeon said. "Growth was robust and profitability strengthened significantly in terms of both operating income and net income," she said.