FRANKFURT, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Germany may impose conditions on its potential divestment of a one-third stake in uranium enrichment company Urenco, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported, responding to concerns about safeguarding its technology.
Germany could insist on retaining the right to make specific financial and strategic demands following any sale, the newspaper said, citing a letter by Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
This, it added, could include intervening in company decisions and laying off management board members if they pose a risk to nuclear non-proliferation or the protection of sensitive technology, the newspaper said, quoting the letter.
Gabriel also proposed the right to veto specific decisions about possible contracts over enriched uranium as well as the potential sale of assets owned by Urenco, Sueddeutsche said.
The Economy Ministry was not available for immediate comment.
Urenco’s owners are testing the market to gauge investor interest, Uwe Beckmeyer, parliamentary state secretary in the German economy and energy ministry, said in December.
Germany’s stake in the company is held by the country’s two biggest utilities, E.ON and RWE.
The British and Dutch governments also hold a third in Urenco each.
“It is completely normal that governments make special demands on companies that own a very sensitive technology,” a spokeswoman for RWE said.
Urenco, the world’s second-largest nuclear fuel vendor after Russia’s Tenex, could fetch up to 10 billion euros ($11.32 billion), but the complex ownership structure makes a sale or initial public offering difficult, sources have told Reuters.
$1 = 0.8831 euros Reporting by Christoph Steitz, Tom Kaeckenhoff and Madeline Chambers; editing by Jason Neely