Duratek may sell DuraTherm subsidiary

Radioactive waste a different business from petrochemicals

Waste treatment

July 17, 1999|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Columbia radioactive waste-treatment company GTS Duratek Inc. said yesterday that it has hired First Security Van Kasper, a San Francisco investment banking firm, to help determine whether it should sell its petroleum-products subsidiary.

GTS Duratek currently owns 80 percent of that subsidiary, DuraTherm Inc. of San Leon, Texas. DuraTherm specializes in processing petroleum sludge. Any oil squeezed out of the sludge is recycled, and what remains is sent to landfills.

DuraTherm took in $10 million in revenue last year. Overall revenue for GTS Duratek was $160.3 million.

"The entire rest of our company is focused on the radioactive-waste market, and DuraTherm is focused on the petrochemical industry, and we either need to start to grow [DuraTherm] to be a significant part of our business or divest it to let someone else take advantage of it," said Diane R. Brown, GTS Duratek's director of investor relations.

Brown declined to say if there have been any offers for Dura-Therm to date. "It's the beginning of the process," she said.

Marc H. Sulam, an analyst with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. in New York, said selling Dura-Therm would allow GTS Duratek to focus on more dynamic aspects of its business.

"The interesting part is that DuraTherm has really begun to contribute, but the radioactive piece of Duratek is going to be the much larger opportunity," Sulam said.

GTS Duratek shares fell 37.5 cents to $7 yesterday.

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