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British gov't to sell stake in uranium enrichment firm


08:20, April 23, 2013

LONDON, April 22 (Xinhua) -- The British government announced Monday that it will proceed with plan to sell its stake in British-based uranium enrichment Urenco company.

The British government said in a statement that the decision to proceed towards a sale comes after the government has secured agreement from its Dutch and German partners.

Britain, Germany and the Netherlands each hold one-third stakes in the nuclear fuel supplies group.

Several buyers are reported to be interested in bidding for the stake, which could generate a windfall of up to 3 billion pounds (about 4.6 billion U.S. dollars) for British taxpayers.

"Funds released from a sale can then be used to meet the government's priorities of achieving strong and sustainable growth across the country," the statement said.

Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon said now is the right time for the government to sell some or all of its holding in the company.

The sale supports the government's strategy to dispose of public assets that do not require public ownership.

Fallon said: "It makes good commercial sense now and is consistent with our position that assets should be sold where ownership itself does not deliver any policy objective."

"Our priority is to ensure taxpayers' money is being used in the most effective way to boost economic growth. Any sale will make sure we deliver value for money and protect the UK's security and non-proliferation interests."

However, the form, scale and timing of any proposed sale has not yet been determined and will be conditional upon further discussions.

Urenco, founded in 1971, enriches uranium using gas centrifuges to provide fuel for nuclear power utilities and provides uranium enrichment for around 50 customers across 18 countries -- about 31 percent of global market share.

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