Canadian Cameco to buy German nuclear fuel company Nukem for $136 million

Canadian company Cameco, the world’s largest uranium miner, has signed a deal to buy Nukem Energy, a German company that trades nuclear fuel products and services, for $136 million in cash plus debt.

The Saskatoon-based uranium producer said in a release Monday the deal strengthens its position and improves access to unconventional and secondary sources of supply.

Through the purchase, Cameco  (TSX: CCO; NYSE: CCJ) will also assume Nukem’s net debt position of $164 million, although the company expects to substantially reduce its debt balance through ongoing business activities prior to closing.

The sale agreement with global private equity firm Advent International also includes provisions for Advent to receive a portion of Nukem’s future earnings until the end of 2014.

Nukem, which also has offices in Connecticut, will continue to operate as an independent company upon closing, expected in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“This acquisition complements Cameco’s business by strengthening our position in nuclear fuel markets and improving our access to unconventional and secondary sources of supply,” Tim Gitzel, chief executive with Cameco, said in a release. “After closing, it is expected that Nukem will add solid cash flow and will have a positive impact on earnings starting in 2013.”

Nukem sold 12 million pounds of uranium in 2011 and expects to sell between 10 million and 15 million pounds in 2012. The company’s assets also include uncommitted inventory and a portfolio of purchase and sales contracts.

In March this year, Cameco acquired Areva’s uranium Millenium project, located in the Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan, for $150 million.

Cameco mines uranium in Canada, the US and Kazakhstan, and also has projects in Australia.

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