PARIS - France's Areva on Thursday posted a 6.4 percent rise in nine-month sales, driven by its uranium activities and the power Transmission & Distribution (T&D) unit it has been forced to put up for sale.

The world's biggest maker of nuclear reactors also confirmed 2009 guidance for a strong rise in backlog and revenue, and operating income close to that of the financial year 2008, based on the consolidation scope of June 30, 2009. It said it was continuing to implement previously announced cost cuts.

Revenue reached 9.686 billion euros in the first nine momths of 2009, with the T&D unit showing growth of 12.4 percent. New orders for the division however were down 13.6 percent, reflecting a business slowdown in Eastern Europe, the Near East and The Middle East, partly offset by growth in new orders in China,sia-Pacific and South America.

Final offers in the sale of Areva's T&D business will be made in mid-November, France's Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Monday.

Areva, in which the French state holds a 91 percent stake, plans to sell the T&D unit as part of an 11 billion euro financing plan that also includes a capital increase.

Areva, whose activities cover the full nuclear energy cycle from mining to waste, said its backlog at end-September was 47.5 billion euros, or a 22.3 percent growth year on year.

The backlog is up 24.7 percent in nuclear activities and down 5.6 percent in Transmission & Distribution

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Dominique Vidalon, wediting by Marcel Michelson)