Urenco reports stable year and strong forward order book worth £10.16bn

Urenco, the uranium processing specialist, has released annual figures for the year to December 31, 2018, which show a slight increase in revenues, although income before tax slipped.

Urenco UK is based at Capenhurst near Chester, and produces enriched uranium to enable nuclear power stations around the world to generate electricity. It employs around 300 people.

Revenues of £1.671bn compared with £1.645bn the previous year, while income before tax of £615.23m was down on the previous year’s level of £624.8m

EBITDA ws £1.02bn, compared with £1.07bn last time.

Urenco said its order book contains orders extending into the 2030s with an approximate value at December 31, 2018, of £10.16bn.

The Capenhurst plant has built a new Tails Management Facility (TMF) which is expected to enter service this year.

During the uranium enrichment process, depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6), or ‘tails’, are made as a by-product. The by-product contains 20-30% of the natural uranium 235 concentration and, therefore, has the potential for re-enrichment in the future.

The TMF facility will be able to recycle around 5,000 tonnes of hydrogen fluoride a year for industrial use.

Chief executive Thomas Haeberle said: “During 2018 Urenco achieved robust financial and operational results, improved safety, and good progress in all areas of our strategy.

“A strong order book and increased SWU and uranium related sales have supported a 1.6% increase in revenue.

“EBITDA and net income are slightly reduced – 3.9% and 0.7% respectively – reflecting increased costs for nuclear provisions, partially offset by good cost discipline. We have continued to reduce debt, down by over 50% in three years.

“We are in the third year of our strategy and remain on track to realise our target cost savings by the end of 2019.

“We are signing new customer contracts and are making good progress on several new business opportunities.

“In 2019 we also plan to see our new Tails Management Facility (TMF) commence operations.”

He added: “The global enrichment market remains challenging and current price levels would not support reinvestment in our enrichment facilities.

“We are proud of the key role we play in the nuclear fuel cycle and the sustainable benefits we deliver to a low carbon economy. Customers remain our priority, and once again we met every delivery thanks to the work of our committed and engaged employees.”

He said: “At the end of March, I will step down as CEO and retire from Urenco.

“My successor, Boris Schucht, joins us from 50Hertz, the North-East German Transmission System Operator.

“I am confident that Urenco will continue to prosper under his leadership.

“Urenco is well positioned to meet the market and geopolitical challenges, innovate to explore opportunities for growth, and empower employees to use their expertise to drive efficiency and continued positive change across our business.”