French-based companies Areva and Airbus secured deals with the Chinese firms worth almost US$23 billion to coincide with French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to the country. Nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva will be paid US$8 billion by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC) to build two third-generation reactors. CGNPC has also agreed to buy 35% of the uranium produced by UraMin, a company with extensive operations in Africa that was taken over by Areva in July. Meanwhile, Airbus said China had signed a US$14.8 billion contract for 160 commercial passenger aircraft. The aircraft ordered comprise 50 twin-aisle A330 planes and 110 aircraft from the smaller A320 short-haul family. However, Sarkozy's calls for faster appreciation of the renminbi aren't likely to enjoy much success, the Financial Times reported. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao apparently told Sarkozy that China would continue a gradualist approach to exchange rate reform.