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Toshiba seeks alliance to build nuke plants
Publication Date : 15-08-2012
Toshiba Corp. plans to form an international alliance in the nuclear power industry in a bid to win more orders to construct nuclear plants in emerging nations, sources said.
Toshiba will sell part of its stake in nuclear power giant Westinghouse Electric Co. to other US nuclear-related firms that have strong ties with emerging nations, the sources said. It hopes that aligning with these firms will generate business opportunities in countries expected to see their electricity demand increase as their economies grow.
Toshiba, the largest shareholder of Westinghouse, plans to reduce its stake from 67 per cent to 51 per cent, the sources said.
In addition, Toshiba will broker the selling of the 20 per cent stake in Westinghouse held by US engineering company Shaw Group Inc., the second-largest shareholder in Westinghouse, the sources said.
Kazakhstan's state-run nuclear power firm Kazatomprom holds a 10 per cent stake in Westinghouse, and IHI Corp. holds 3 per cent.
In 2006, Toshiba acquired Westinghouse for about US$5.4 billion (630 billion yen at the exchange rate at the time).
Earlier this year, US President Barack Obama approved the construction of nuclear power plants in the United States for the first time in 34 years. However, the initial excitement regarding the new nuclear plants has since cooled, partly due to increased production of shale gas, a cheap natural gas found deep in rocks formed by layers of mud underground.
By contrast, China and other rapidly growing nations remain eager to use nuclear power generation even after the crisis that started at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March last year.