AEA's nuclear consulting division sold to Serco for £69.8m

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Serco Group, the support services company, has added AEA Technology's nuclear consulting unit to its portfolio for £69.8m.

Serco expects the deal, which was agreed for £5m less than the price initially mooted in June, to increase its earnings after integration and financing costs. A spokesman for Serco, which is the Ministry of Defence's biggest service contractor, said it wanted the consulting unit for strategic reasons. "We already have an existing science base and with this [deal] we will be able to provide new services such as safety and risk management services," he said.

AEA's consulting division provides services such as safety management and plant design to clients including British Nuclear Fuels and British Energy.

The deal is part of AEA's plan to focus on its rail and environment business. It has already sold its nuclear engineering arm and wants to sell Hyprotech, the main part of its engineering software business.

Last year, AEA's consulting division reported a pre-tax profit, after the deduction of group management charges, of £7.6m on sales of £41.9m. The division has about £6m in outstanding contracts.

Serco also runs prisons and operates London's Docklands Light Railway. Its shares fell 1.5p to 376p, while AEA's shares gained 13.5p to 348.5p.