Finance

Toshiba To Sell Its Nuclear Division

Toshiba To Sell Its Nuclear Division

PRIVATE equity firm Brookfield Business Partners has bought troubled nuclear firm Westinghouse Electric Company from its owner Toshiba in a deal worth US$4.6bn.

Brookfield Business Partners L.P. Limited Partnership Units (NYSE:BBU) had its price target raised by equities researchers at Credit Suisse Group to $3.15 in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday.

And, as the only USA company granted permits for new nuclear power plants since the Three Mile Island mishap, Westinghouse is a major gatekeeper to the industry - if they can get their sh*t together.

Representatives for Blackstone and Apollo weren't immediately available for comment.

The demise of Westinghouse was a major setback for the country's nuclear industry, potentially dooming new nuclear build in the U.S. Problems with its AP1000 nuclear reactor models led to two major nuclear projects falling behind schedule and mounting costs.

In a statement announcing the deal on Thursday, Brookfield called Westinghouse a "high-quality business" and an "iconic American company".

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Brookfield won an auction to propose the best possible offer for the company, and has a plan to reorganize its bankrupt US assets as well, a person familiar with the offer told Bloomberg.

The deal won't include what had been the company's most prized projects - plans to build its AP1000 reactors for US utilities in SC and Georgia.

The deal includes Westinghouse's business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which had remained outside of bankruptcy protection, while at the same time drawing on some of the financing that the bankrupt units obtained from Apollo. In South Carolina, owner Scana Corp. made a decision to abandon the new reactors, sparking a political backlash that prompted federal and state investigations.

The officials say Westinghouse is a leader in its field and has an established customer base. The deal puts an end to a major headache for the Japanese conglomerate, which past year warned that it might have trouble surviving if it didn't find a buyer for the nuclear power plant constructor, which it acquired in 2006 for US$5 billion.

Toshiba has been majority owner of Westinghouse Electric since 2006 and achieved full ownership a year ago by buying a minority shareholder's 10 per cent stake for about US$522 million.


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