China Looking To Grow Its Stake In The Uranium Market

China Looking to Grow its Stake in the Uranium MarketMore than one big announcement from China hit the uranium space this week. First, China National Nuclear (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) announced plans to obtain stakes in French nuclear company Areva (EPA:AREVA,OTCMKTS:ARVCF). Then CNNC subsidiary CNNC International (HKEX:2302) said it plans to seek acquisition opportunities to help meet growing Chinese uranium demand.

CNNC and CGN have not specified how many Areva shares they will be buying, but China's hold on the uranium space will definitely be strengthened with those companies taking stakes in the world's largest uranium producer. In terms of CNNC International's interest in acquiring uranium assets, CEO Wang Ying said that the company is specifically looking at Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.

Experts believe both of these announcements signal that China is very much an active buyer of uranium assets. That falls in line with the Asian nation's plan to spend $100 billion on raising its domestic nuclear power capacity from 20.3 GW in 2014 to 58 GW by 2020.

Areva's growing relationship with Chinese utilities

CNNC has had a partnership with Areva for some time now, with the companies cementing their relationship by signing a series of agreements in April 2013. They then expanded their cooperation when they signed an agreement in January to create a joint venture in the field of nuclear transportation and logistics.

When the French utility, which is 87-percent state owned, announced restructuring plans after recording a loss of $4.8 billion euros in 2014, it attracted further interest from CNNC, as well as other Chinese utilities looking for a piece of the uranium pie — luckily, Areva is very much open to investment.