South Korea’s machine tool manufacturer Ugint Co. has entered the nuclear reactor decommissioning market by acquiring Act, a local company engaged in radioactive waste disposal business.
Ugint announced in a disclosure Tuesday that it signed a contract to buy a 46.21 percent stake in Act plus management right for 8 billion won ($7.5 billion). An official from Ugint said the company has decided to make the investment as it found the nuclear-related market both at home and abroad would expand rapidly. The official added that the company picked Act due to its novel waste processing technology jointly developed with Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI).
Act is the nation’s first nuclear startup founded by a researcher from the KAERI in 1999. Its technological prowess has been widely recognized over the past two decades in the nuclear safety assessment and waste disposal sectors. According to market experts, its patented nuclear waste processing technologies could be applied to the decommissioning of Gori No.1 nuclear plant that was permanently shut down on June 19, 2017.
With the acquisition, Ugint has entered the global nuclear decommissioning market, estimated to be worth 440 trillion won, and will continue to look for investment opportunities in the sector, the company said. “We will actively invest in the nuclear decommissioning market as we found it could be a very promising future growth engine,” another company official said.
As for its mainstay machine tool making business, the official added that orders for original equipment manufacturing (OEM) and original development manufacturing (ODM) have increased recently thanks to the recovery of the industry, which is expected to boost its overall sales.
As of 11:38 a.m. on Wednesday, shares of Ugint fell 0.35 percent to 1,425 won in Seoul trading.
By Ko Min-seo and Choi Mira
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