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Urenco Forecasts Higher Demand for Nuclear Fuel in China, India

Urenco Ltd., a U.K. producer of reactor fuel, expects demand for nuclear power to grow in Asia as burgeoning populations boost demand for cleaner energy.

“Long-term, I am confident that the demand for nuclear energy will grow, particularly in newer markets such as China and India,” Chief Executive Officer Helmut Engelbrecht said today in a statement. “We are well-placed to contribute.”

With 650 million people in China and India lacking access to electricity, both nations are looking to atomic energy to meet demand without increasing emissions or fossil-fuel costs. Rising consumption in those countries may help counter declining nuclear output in parts of Europe, where Germany plans to close all its reactors by 2022.

Urenco’s owners include the U.K. and Dutch governments, with a third each, according to the company’s website. German utilities EON SE and RWE AG own the rest through a joint partnership.

The Netherlands may sell its stake, the London-based Times reported this month, citing people close to intergovernmental talks. In January the newspaper said Toshiba Corp. may bid for the U.K.’s share, without saying where it got the information.

“We have gone through a lot of considerations and concerns,” Engelbrecht said today on a conference call. Any decision to sell would be “up to our shareholders,” he said.

Urenco, based in Stoke Poges, England, posted a 12 percent increase in 2012 profit today, reporting net income of 401.5 million euros ($515 million). Sales jumped 23 percent to 1.6 billion euros.

A “flattening” of demand in the short term will be reflected in this year’s revenue and order book, Engelbrecht said.

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