By SARAH DiLORENZO, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — France's state-controlled nuclear engineering giant Areva said Thursday that it lost €99 million ($130 million) last year but that it is making strides in turning around a business struggling to move past the Japan's nuclear disaster and a trouble mining venture.
The company lost €2.5 billion in 2011, a year that saw many countries rethink their use of the nuclear energy after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Fukushima power plant. Much of those losses were due to a troubled uranium mining venture that was the subject of investigation.
In 2012, the company stabilized its mining business and recorded growth in all other business lines. Its most significant progress was in its reactor business, where it reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — or EBITDA, a key measure of profitability — of €98 million, after a loss of €399 million in 2011.
The company reported last month that sales have started to pick up. Revenue rose 5.3 percent in 2012 to €9.3 billion.
CEO Luc Oursel added that the company was ahead of schedule with its turnaround plan, which aims to slash its costs by €1 billion by 2015 and reduce its debt.
One potential snag in the improving picture was the company's backlog, a measure of orders. At mid-year, it was up 4.8 percent over the previous year, a sign that business was picking up and one that led the company to upgrade its outlook for the year. But by the end of 2012 the backlog had fallen just below even with 2011's.
Still, the company edged up its EBITDA expectations for the year to €1.1 billion. Last year, it was €1 billion, a sharp rise over 2011's €586 million.
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