Axa Private Equity has dropped out of the bidding for Areva's T&D power transmission and distribution equipment unit as it failed to present a bid at Friday's deadline due to problems finding sufficient capital on time, the Wansquare online publication said on Sunday.
The nuclear reactor maker, in which the French state holds a 91% stake, wants to sell the T&D unit as part of an €11 billion ($16 billion) financing plan that includes a capital increase.
Analysts value T&D at €3 billion to €5 billion.
Engineering group Alstom confirmed it had submitted a bid with Schneider Electric.
Alstom sold T&D to Areva in 2004 for less than €1 billion as part of a rescue plan.
General Electric also made an offer in a consortium including investment fund CVC, a source close to the matter told Reuters on Friday.
Axa Private Equity had said it was considering an offer for T&D, a rival of ABB and Siemens. Axa declined to comment on Friday.
Japan's Toshiba also planned to bid, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters earlier this month.
The Areva spokeswoman declined to comment on the number of bidders or their identity.
Areva expects to announce which of the offers if any meet its criteria at the very end of September, according to a memo from T&D head Philippe Guillemot seen by Reuters. (Reuters)