Government ‘looking to revive Urenco sale plan’

THE  Government is set to hold talks with German officials this week in an attempt to unblock the £10bn privatisation of Urenco, the uranium processing giant.

According to Sky News, talks have been scheduled between two of the three shareholders in the UK-based company amid concerns that securing the approval of the third investor – the Dutch state – is proving excessively complex.

The German stake in Urenco is held by two state-owned utilities, EOn and RWE.

Parent company Urenco Ltd is headquartered in Buckinghamshire, but subsidiary Urenco UK Ltd is based at Capenhurst near Chester. The business operates three plants producing enriched uranium to enable nuclear power stations around the world to generate electricity and  employs around 300 people.

Aa spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: “No final decision has been made by the British Government on the sale of its shares in Urenco. We continue to move forward with preparations for the sale of our shareholding.

“Any sale of our shareholding will be contingent on safeguarding our security and non-proliferation interests, and delivering value for money for the UK taxpayer.”

Chancellor George Osborne, has signalled Britain’s willingness to sell its stake, which could raise £3bn, Sky said.

Any sale requires the agreement of all three shareholders, and talks are not thought to have meaningfully progressed for some time.

In its half year results for the six months to the end of June, Urenco saw strong gains in revenues and profits.

Turnover was €586.6m (H1 2014: €523.5 million) reflecting higher volumes and higher average unit revenues, while EBITDA increased by 26.2% to €479.8m.

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