NUKEM Technologies Engineering Services GmbH (NUKEM) has filed for insolvency under self-administration and is undergoing debtor-in-possession restructuring. Despite this measure, NUKEM says business will continue as normal.

NUKEM Technologies GmbH, which is currently 100% owned by Russia’s ASE Group (Atomstroyexport – part of Rosatom), provides a wide range of services related to management of radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel as well as decommissioning of hazardous nuclear and radiological facilities (power, research, production, marine and naval reactors and fuel cycle plants).

The original NUKEM Nuklearchemie und Metallurgie GmbH was founded in 1960 focusing on the processing of uranium and the fabrication of fuel elements. In the 1970s the company developed new business areas including nuclear engineering and the construction of nuclear facilities. NUKEM Technologies Engineering Services GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of NUKEM Technologies GmbH, which has been part of the Rosatom Group since 2009.

However, Russia’s involvement has caused difficulties in recent years. "Our primary goal is to secure the company’s future with a new business partner or buyer. We want to offer our employees long-term prospects and continue to be a reliable partner for our customers and suppliers," said NUKEM Managing Director Thomas Seipolt. "We are confident that a change of ownership will be successful, as the burden of a Russian parent company has now been removed."

NUKEM has been under creditor protection since 2 April 2024, after the Local Court of Aschaffenburg approved the company’s application for provisional insolvency in self-administration. The company management is being supported by lawyer Christian Feketija based in Frankfurt.

NUKEM said the challenges the company is facing are attributable to the deteriorating business environment due to the ownership structure following the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February 2022 and the recent unexpected failure of the merger & acquisition process. Despite considerable interest from the market, the envisaged sale could not be successfully finalised. This was mainly due to legal uncertainties related to the Russian ownership and the permissibility of such an acquisition.

NUKEM added that the decision in favour of self-administered insolvency proceedings is the best possible option to save the company in this difficult situation. Negotiations have already been resumed with some of the interested parties who withdrew from the acquisition process at an earlier stage due to legal issues related to the Russian ownership. "These parties are still interested. They already have an insight into the company and its potential," noted Seipolt.

Insolvency and restructuring expert Christian Feketija explains: "By granting provisional self-administration, the court has made it clear that it shares our view of a successful restructuring of the company. The insolvency proceedings free us from the Russian ownership structure and open up new opportunities for an interested party to participate as an investor without concerns about possible legal implications."