PARIS (Reuters) – French uranium mining and nuclear fuel group Areva rebranded itself as Orano on Tuesday, closing the book on a years-long restructuring but still facing an uncertain future, with uranium prices at decade lows and the nuclear industry in the doldrums.
Chief Executive Philippe Knoche said a new name and logo were necessary to start another chapter in the history of the state-owned company, which was split in two and recapitalized in 2017 after years of losses wiped out its equity.
“We had to change our name – we are a new company with a different perimeter, focused on the fuel cycle,” Knoche said at a presentation of the new brand. Orano refers to uranium, the core of the firm’s business, and its new circular yellow logo references the yellowcake uranium concentrate that it extracts from the ore.
To mark the change – and reduce real estate costs by 10 million euros (8.78 million pounds) a year – Orano will move out of its prestigious Paris headquarters, a distinctive black-slab skyscraper inspired by the monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
The move is part of a plan to cut costs by about 250 million euros in the 2018-2020 period. With its nuclear reactor building unit sold to fellow state-owned utility EDF last year, Orano goes back to being a pure nuclear fuel company, similar to its predecessor Cogema, before it was merged into Areva.
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