Ex-Urenco exec says consortium ready to launch bid

PARIS Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:45pm GMT

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PARIS (Reuters) - A former technology director of Urenco said a consortium of companies was ready to bid for 66 percent of the nuclear fuel producer once the UK and German governments launch a formal tender for their stakes in the firm.

Patrick Upson, also former chief executive of Enrichment Technology, a joint venture between Urenco and France's Areva (AREVA.PA), declined to name the consortium's partners but said they would step forward once the tender was opened for the ultra-secretive uranium enrichment company.

Upson said he valued Urenco at around 10 billion euros ($13.3 billion), depending on the terms of the sale, and said the consortium would consider buying 100 percent of Urenco if the Dutch government also decided to sell its 33 percent stake.

He indicated that the consortium, which has not yet been finalized, would consist of industrial and financial partners.

"We do remain in the running, very strongly," Upson told Reuters on Tuesday, adding that he expected the tender to be launched around the end of March.

UK media reported in August that Upson was attempting to put together a consortium to bid for Urenco.

On Monday, sources told Reuters that Areva and Japan's Toshiba Corp (6502.T) were also considering bids. <id:nL6N0AQ8MQ>

Britain is keen to sell its 33 percent stake, and German utilities RWE (RWEG.DE) and E.ON (EONGn.DE) are talking to potential buyers over their combined 33 percent, but the Dutch government is not considering a sale.

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(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by James Regan)

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