Urenco, the government-owned uranium enricher being courted by a host of private equity houses, has had its credit rating downgraded by Standard & Poor's as the nuclear industry contends with ebbing demand.
Apax, KKR, Carlyle and CVC are all stalking Urenco, two-thirds of which is evenly split between the UK and Dutch governments, while German energy giants RWE and Eon hold the remainder.
Now S&P has regraded Urenco as BBB+ from A- due to an uncertain outlook for the nuclear industry and forecasts of reduced demand.
The agency noted that Urenco's Ebitda growth has slowed and “the persistence of what we view as a somewhat uncertain outlook for the nuclear power industry since the Fukushima accident in several key markets”.
The UK and Germany both want out of Urenco. Chancellor Angela Merkel was quick to renounce the controversial energy source after the Fukushima nuclear disaster rocked Japan in March 2011 and Germans took to the streets to protest.
Environment minister Norbert Röttgen took the country's seven oldest plants offline almost immediately after the explosion, while nine others were ordered to be phased out by 2022.
Yesterday it emerged that Eon has decided to sell its 34 per cent stake in Finnish utility Fennovoima, a reversal of plans to build a presence in the Nordic country.
Urenco supplies nuclear power stations with enriched uranium fuel, and claims to hold 29 per cent of the global market.
Morgan Stanley was awarded a mandate at the end of last month to explore the UK's options, the latest of George Osborne's privatisations to fatten the public purse after the sales of bookmaker the Tote and the high-speed rail link between King’s Cross and the Channel Tunnel.