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    FORTUM   FI0009007132

FORTUM OYJ

(FORTUM)
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Finland to become EU's only uranium producer

02/06/2020 | 11:17am EDT
FILE PHOTO: A general view of Talvivaara's nickel mine in Sotkamo

The Finnish government gave the green light on Thursday for state-owned Terrafame to extract and refine uranium in eastern Finland, paving the way for the country to become the European Union's only uranium producer.

The announcement by the government confirmed a Reuters report on Wednesday.

Terrafame is backed by commodities house Trafigura. It plans to produce uranium at a mine in the Kainuu region that has been producing nickel and other metals for batteries for years, and was previously known as Talvivaara.

Terrafame took over the mine in 2015 after environmental hurdles had led the mine to file for bankruptcy.

"When it comes to primary production, there isn't any (uranium) production elsewhere in the EU area according to our information, although there used to be," Terrafame chief executive Joni Lukkaroinen told Reuters.

Terrafame's predecessor Talvivaara had already constructed a 75 million euro (63.23 million pounds) uranium recovery plant at the mine before its bankruptcy and Lukkaroinen said Terrafame would invest another 10 million to finish it.

"Getting the uranium plant operational will take roughly a year," the company said in a statement, adding the start could be delayed by another year if the government decision faces appeals.

The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation said it planned to launch such an appeal.

"On the basis of the nuclear energy act, there are no grounds to grant a permit since the mine's waste solution is not durably safe for the environment nor have its long-term effects been assessed," its local branch wrote in a statement.

Talvivaara left several nearby lakes contaminated with heavy metals when its waste waters leaked on two occasions back in 2012 and 2013.

Terrafame plans to recover uranium from ore at the mine, along with its main products nickel, zinc, cobalt and copper, and refine it into yellowcake, a semi-finished uranium oxide product used to manufacture fuel for nuclear power plants.

It will then export the yellowcake to other countries approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency for processing it into nuclear fuel for which there are no existing production facilities in Finland.

Last year, 35% of Finnish electricity production came from the country's four nuclear reactors, whose owners Fortum and TVO [POHVOT.UL] buy their nuclear fuel from other countries including Russia, France and Canada.

Lukkaroinen said Terrafame did not have a goal to promote nuclear self-sufficiency. "Our only interest is to ameliorate our profitability," he said.

State-owned Finnish Minerals Group owns 71.8% of Terrafame, while Trafigura Group's private investment arm Galena holds 27.6% and Finnish insurer Sampo 0.6%.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen, additional reporting by Tarmo Virki; Editing by Susan Fenton and Mark Potter)


© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AT HOME GROUP INC. 2.77% 36.7 Delayed Quote.130.98%
BYD COMPANY LIMITED -8.20% 206 End-of-day quote.1.38%
FORTUM OYJ -0.71% 23.89 Delayed Quote.22.13%
SAMPO OYJ 0.61% 39.5 Delayed Quote.13.57%
THE EASTERN COMPANY -1.17% 33 Delayed Quote.38.55%
US DOLLAR / RUSSIAN ROUBLE (USD/RUB) -0.21% 72.0528 Delayed Quote.-2.46%
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Financials
Sales 2021 63 628 M 77 072 M 77 072 M
Net income 2021 1 586 M 1 921 M 1 921 M
Net Debt 2021 6 931 M 8 395 M 8 395 M
P/E ratio 2021 12,5x
Yield 2021 4,71%
Capitalization 21 372 M 25 900 M 25 888 M
EV / Sales 2021 0,44x
EV / Sales 2022 0,44x
Nbr of Employees 20 036
Free-Float 47,3%
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Technical analysis trends FORTUM OYJ
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Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 20
Average target price 22,47 €
Last Close Price 24,06 €
Spread / Highest target 12,6%
Spread / Average Target -6,62%
Spread / Lowest Target -35,6%
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Managers and Directors
NameTitle
Markus Heikki Erdem Rauramo President & Chief Executive Officer
Bernhard Günther Chief Financial Officer
Veli-Matti Reinikkala Chairman
Anja McAlister Deputy Chairman
Essimari Kairisto Independent Director
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