Income boost for Urenco

09 April 2010

Urenco has celebrated strong results from the last year including a €19.5 billion ($26.2 billion) order book to keep it busy until 2025.


The uranium enrichment firm, set up by Germany, the Netherlands and the UK is continuing to expand, thanks it said, to a 25% market share and the certainty it has from a full order book. Chief executive Helmut Englebrecht described Urenco as "the utility of utilities" and said its focus is "meeting the needs of customers as their businesses develop."


Urenco operates three enrichment plants already and will begin commercial operation of its fourth, in the USA, within months. Work towards this major expansion as well as installations at existing sites kept capital expenditure at some €843.0 million ($1120 million) - around the same level as last year.


However, the immediate benefit from this is an 11% increase in capacity to 12.2 million separative work units (SWU) per year. This figure for the end of 2009 compares to 11 million SWU at the end of 2008. The completion of the US plant will take Urenco to 18 million SWU.


Urenco's Springfields plant in the UK
Urenco's Capenhurst plant in the UK (Image: Urenco)

The company's earnings before tax and deductions were €669.7 million ($895.9 million), up 2% on last year despite a very slight drop in revenue to €1121.0 million ($1499 million).


The earnings boost combined with lower depreciation charges and lower net finance costs to boost net income by 32% to €342.8 million ($458.6 million).


Possible sale of UK stake


In October last year the UK government announced it would continue to "explore options for realizing value from its stake in Urenco" as part of a £16 billion ($24 billion) sale of major public assets. A one-third share of Urenco could be included in this "subject to security issues being addressed," prime minister Gordon Brown said.


Interest is sure to be very high, but selecting a new owner for the major stake could prove complex. The company is regulated by the 1971 Treaty of Almelo to consolidate and commercialise centrifuge enrichment research by Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. Those governments still control it through shareholding executives while the scope of the treaty has been expanded by the Treaty of Washington, which allowed for expansion in the USA, and the Treaty of Cardiff, which made possible a technology agreement with Areva of France.


The current holders of the remaining two-thirds of Urenco shares are an RWE/EOn holding company and the Dutch government, which has passed on 1.1% of its share to Philips, Shell and Stork.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News