Disposing of the nukes

The Board of AEA Technology has entered into a conditional agreement for the sale of its Nuclear Consulting Business to Serco Limited.

The Board of AEA Technology (AEAT) has entered into a conditional agreement for the sale of its Nuclear Consulting Business to Serco Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Serco Group, for a cash consideration of £69.8 million.

In addition, AEAT will have the benefit of retaining an estimated £6.0 million of trade debtors. Accordingly, the gross cash proceeds arising from the move, including the collection of retained trade debtors, are estimated to be £75.8 million.

The move is part of AEAT’s strategy to accelerate the reshaping of the group to focus primarily on its Rail and Environment Businesses. This includes the proposed disposals of the Nuclear Consulting Business, the Nuclear Engineering Business (announced on 4 June 2001) and Hyprotech, the main part of the Engineering Software Business.

After allowing for a reduction in debt and for the costs of restructuring the group overhead base, the Company intends to use the proceeds of the disposals to return a significant sum to shareholders before the end of the financial year, while retaining sufficient funds for investment in its core businesses.

The Nuclear Consulting Business provides safety and risk management services to ensure the safety and efficiency of plant, processes and systems. It operates primarily in the UK nuclear industry and comprises three service lines: Safety Management, Engineering Integrity, and Performance Safety and Environment.

The Nuclear Consulting Business is based primarily at Risley, Cheshire and has over 450 employees. In the year ended 31 March 2001, the Nuclear Consulting Business had a turnover of £41.9 million, profit before taxation of £7.6 million and, as at 31 March 2001, net assets of £4.6 million (of which net liabilities of £0.2 million will pass to Serco).

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