Dutch signal willingness to sell Urenco stake

23rd May 2013, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch government announced Thursday it would explore the sale of the one-third stake it owns in British-based uranium enrichment specialist Urenco.

The government said in a statement that the council of ministers had approved exploring the sale of part or the entire stake, and was in discussion with the other shareholders in the company which supplies nuclear fuel to power plants in Europe and the United States.

The announcement came a month after the British government said it would consider selling its one-third stake, while German power companies E.ON and RWE indicated in January they would put up their equal shares of the remaining third in Urenco.

Dutch media estimate Urenco to be worth some 10 billion euros ($13 billion).

However the Dutch government indicated it would not sell its stake unless the "public interests concerning non-proliferation, nuclear security and deliveries were guaranteed in an effective manner."

Urenco was created in 1971 following a treaty between Britain, Germany and the Netherlands on nuclear enrichment.

French nuclear fuel company Areva has expressed interest in acquiring Urenco.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told lawmakers in a letter that plans by Britain and the German power companies to sell their stake forced the Netherlands to join the sale to protect its interests, as it would have little voice if left a minority shareholder.

© 2013 AFP

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