The French government, which is reviewing options for state-controlled nuclear group Areva, favours a scheme under which Bouygues would own 35 percent of a new company formed by merging Areva with Alstom. ( Reuters )
"The favoured scenario of the Elysee at this stage is as follows: Areva and Alstom would merge and a holding would be created," the paper said, citing no sources.
"With 35 percent of the capital, Bouygues, which would sell its mobile phone (unit), would be the top shareholder, the state retaining 18 percent and the rest of the capital being listed," it added.
Reuters received an advanced copy of the newspaper which is published on Wednesday.
Telecoms and construction group Bouygues declined to comment and the French Economy Ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.
A source close to the situation had told Reuters earlier on Tuesday that the French government was reviewing its options for Areva but that the process was at a preliminary stage.
The source was reacting after daily newspaper Les Echos said France had hired HSBC bank and consultancy firm McKinsey to explore options for Areva.
Les Echos said, citing no sources, the French government favoured a tie-up between Areva and industrial power plant and high-speed train firm Alstom, a merger that would create a group with a market capitalisation of 40 billion euros ($55 billion).
This helped to push Alstom shares up 6.5 percent on Tuesday.