energy: Re-Energized in France

How Areva, a state-owned utility, put fission back in fashion in Europe

Anne Lauvergeon had high hopes that the French nuclear-energy company she heads would be the big state-owned firm slated for partial privatization last year. She and her colleagues at Paris-based Areva had prepared all the official paperwork for a public offering and lobbied the government hard to be next in line to go public. Her insistence ruffled some feathers, especially in the Finance Ministry, according to people familiar with the behind-the-scenes maneuvering. But last November she officially lost her battle when the government sold $7.6 billion of shares in Electricité de France (EDF), the huge state electricity supplier, instead.

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