Nuclear processor sees half year dip but order book remains strong

Urenco, the uranium processing specialist, has reported a fall in both revenues and income for the six months to June 30.

The company 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.

Figures today showed turnover during the period fell from €617.3m last year to €565m. Net income, before exceptional items, was €84.8m, down from €198.3m last year. EBITDA before exceptional items was €565m compared with €617.3m a year ago.

Total gross debt reduced to €1.076bn following repayment on maturity of the group’s 2021 Eurobonds, and compares with €1.614bn as at December 31, 2020.

Cash generated from operating activities remains strong at €229.1m, but reflects lower EBITDA and higher trade receivables at June 30, 2021 compared with the first half of 2020, for which cash is due to be received in the second half of 2021.

Meanwhile, the order book stands at at €9.1bn, extending to the 2030s.

Chief executive, Boris Schucht, said: “Urenco’s half year results for 2021 reflect our ongoing resilient financial and operational performance, which has been sustained despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our plant operations have continued without interruption and our deliveries to customers have been maintained throughout the period. The continued mutual support and flexibility demonstrated by our employees, our customers and key stakeholders is greatly appreciated by Urenco.”

He said Urenco’s finances remain healthy and in line with management expectations and the company retains a strong balance sheet, which will help protect Urenco from any potential longer term adverse consequences of COVID-19 and the ongoing challenges of the enrichment market.

“Our updated strategy continues to progress well. Our order book has slightly increased in the first half of 2021 for our core enrichment business.

“Our UK-based Tails Management Facility (TMF), which responsibly manages the by-product of our enrichment services, is being actively commissioned. We are committed to the long term sustainability of the nuclear industry and we are supporting our customers through the development of next generation fuels, along with expanding our production of medical isotopes.”

He said sustainability is integral to everything Urenco does: “We are committed to making a positive contribution to a sustainable net zero future. This year we refreshed our sustainability strategy, ensuring that our key priorities of environmental impact, social impact and governance provide strategic value and direct our day-to-day activities.

“We are proud of the important role we play as part of the civil nuclear industry in helping the world to decarbonise. In this respect we have committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions across our business in advance of 2040.

“We are also increasing our social investment, with a clear focus on multi-year partnerships with charitable organisations and enhanced alignment of our internship, educational and other social programmes.

“We are also maintaining our strong focus on governance and ethics; we ensure compliance with appropriate regulatory frameworks, we preserve the security of the nuclear industry, we operate in an open and accountable manner, and we are committed to ensuring Urenco remains a trustworthy and valuable contributor to society.”

He added: “The UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, is planned to be held in Glasgow, United Kingdom, in November 2021. It will be important for the nuclear industry to participate in the dialogue and debate, in order to make the case that nuclear energy is a critical part of the solution for climate change and achieving decarbonisation.

“The use of nuclear energy today avoids emissions roughly equivalent to removing one-third of all cars from the world’s roads. Urenco will support the energy transition and we believe that nuclear power, renewables and hydrogen belong together in a net zero world, and they are the future of our energy systems.”

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