Rolls-Royce is in talks to sell its French civil nuclear business to Framatome, a company controlled by France’s EDF, in the latest move by the FTSE 100 engineer to reshape its operations. Two people close to the sales process said on Tuesday night that talks with the French company were continuing. The aero-engine group confirmed in March it had hired consultants from KPMG to review options for its international civil nuclear business, estimated by analysts to be worth up to £200m. The business makes instruments and controls to monitor radiation and temperature. Its operations in France employ about 600 people and produce instrumentation systems for nuclear reactors around the world. It also has sites in North America focused on services such as the provision of data analytics tools. Rolls-Royce initially wanted to dispose of the operations as one package but failed to find a buyer, so decided to market them separately, according to one person familiar with the situation. France’s EDF holds a 75 per cent stake in Framatome. The balance is held by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, with a 19.5 per cent stake and another French company, Assystem, holding a 5 per cent share. The civil nuclear business is a small part of Rolls-Royce’s overall operations, which generated underlying revenues of £15bn last year. The sale also does not include the bulk of Rolls-Royce’s civil nuclear work in the UK, in particular its work on Hinkley Point in Somerset, the first nuclear power plant to be built in Britain in a generation. It also does not include its project to develop small modular reactors or its nuclear submarine reactor business.
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