UPDATE 1-AEA Technology to appoint administrators, halts stock trading

Thu Nov 8, 2012 4:13am EST

* Co to appoint administrators for cos in England and Wales

* Not to begin insolvency proceedings for co's U.S. businesses

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Environmental consultancy AEA Technology Group said it plans to appoint administrators for its companies in England and Wales, after failing to resolve debt issues.

AEA - which advises the U.S. Department of Energy, the British government and several companies on climate change and energy issues - said it was unable to assess its financial position and asked for its shares to be suspended from trading.

The company said in July that it continued to be weighed down by debt and funding costs for retirement benefits, despite discussions with lender Lloyds Banking Group and the trustee of its pension scheme.

This prompted AEA, which was spun out of UK's Atomic Energy Authority in 1994, to start a strategic review, but it said the options it was considering were likely to yield little or no value for shareholders.

The company had since been in discussions with a number of parties, and said on Thursday that all proposals it received were for the sale of its units and assets.

AEA, privatised as a commercial technical consultancy in 1996 by the then Tory government, said it would not begin insolvency proceedings for its U.S.-based businesses and they will trade normally.

Engineering and automotive consultancy Ricardo Plc said it would buy AEA Europe, a unit of AEA Technology, for 18 million pounds ($28.78 million).

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