The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has agreed to sell its commercial arm, UKAEA Ltd, to engineering support services company Babcock International Group for £50 million ($82 million) in cash.
In March, UKAEA said that it was seeking a buyer for up to 100% of the issued share capital of UKAEA Ltd. The government had indicated that it would consider retaining a stake in the firm, which specializes in nuclear decommissioning, waste management and nuclear new build support services, both in the UK and overseas.
UKAEA Ltd was legally separated from the UKAEA on 1 April 2008. It owns two subsidiary companies - Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL) and Research Sites Restoration Ltd (RSRL). These are nuclear site licensee companies responsible for Dounreay and the Harwell & Winfrith sites respectively. UKAEA Ltd also manages the pension administration for a number of nuclear industry pension schemes.
The decision to sell the business follows a strategic review performed by the UKAEA and is the first under the UK government's operational efficiency program (OEP), which was launched in 2008. The program aims to ensure more efficient and commercial operation of assets held by the public sector, where the UKAEA had its origins as the lead agency in developing nuclear energy for Britain.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2009, following the necessary regulatory approvals.
Lady Barbara Judge, chairman of UKAEA, said, "We are delighted to have agreed the sale of UKAEA Ltd to Babcock International, which represents the culmination of the strategy we initiated in 2004, following the introduction of the Energy Act that year." She added, "The new ownership structure will help give UKAEA Ltd greater commercial focus on its operations, allowing it to capitalise on its core skills, strong track record and brand, and I am confident that it will continue its growth in the UK and internationally under Babcock International's ownership."