UK plays down German talk of Urenco floating

Caitlin Morrison
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German politician Uwe Beckmeyer
THE GOVERNMENT has distanced itself from reports that it is testing market interest in uranium enrichment company Urenco, which it part owns alongside Germany and the Netherlands.

The UK government announced it was selling its third of the firm, which is the world’s second largest nuclear fuel vendor after Russia’s Tenex, in April 2013. It is believed the UK could earn up to £3bn from the sale.

Uwe Beckmeyer, parliamentary state secretary in the German economy and energy ministry, has written to Linke, Germany's fourth largest political party, stating that the owners of Urenco are gauging investor appetite for the firm. The German government’s stake in Urenco is held by utilities firms E.ON and RWE, so it is not directly involved in the market test, according to Beckmeyer.

Meanwhile, sources have previously claimed that the preferred option for the company is a stock market listing but that an IPO might not materialise until after next May’s UK general election.

However, a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “No final decision has been made by the government on the sale of its shares in Urenco. We announced in April 2013 that we would move forward with preparations for the sale of our shareholding; however, 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.”