Duratek acquires Waste Management unit

Nuclear services viewed as good fit

Disposal industry

June 10, 2000|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

GTS Duratek Inc., the Columbia-based radioactive- and hazardous-waste disposal company, said yesterday that it has completed the $65 million purchase of the nuclear services business of Houston-based Waste Management Inc.

The purchase, announced in March, consists of $55 million in cash when the deal closed Thursday, plus an additional $10 million in cash if Duratek continues operating a commercial low-level radioactive-waste disposal facility in Barnwell, S.C.

Duratek said it expects the acquired business, known as Waste Management Nuclear Services, to add $100 million in revenue, increasing its revenue by 55 percent. The company had revenue last year of $177 million.

"This is a significant increase in our capabilities and our size," said Robert F. Shawver, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

He said the unit's services are "right up our strategic alley" but do not duplicate Duratek's current operations. Duratek has primarily focused on waste processing; the acquired unit, as its name suggests, specializes in waste management.

"It will allow us to be more innovative in the type of solutions we can bring to our customers," Shawver said.

Under the agreement, Duratek has until June 30 to decide if it will continue to run the Barnwell facility, one of only two facilities in the country and the only one on the East Coast that can process commercial waste with a higher level of radioactivity, he said.

Shawver said the company built in the contingency clause regarding the facility, which is located on land owned by the state of South Carolina, as it waited for a legislative decision that would determine the economic viability of operating the site.

The legislation that has since passed is favorable to the company, and Shawver said he expects Duratek will continue to operate the facility. Under the new law, the company is guaranteed by the state to make back its costs plus a fee of 29 percent.

"It's not a bad deal," Shawver said.

Once the businesses are integrated, Shawver said jobs may be added at the company's Columbia headquarters, but no final decisions have been made.

Shares of GTS Duratek lost 6.25 cents yesterday to close at $8.6875.

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