Kazatomprom buys into Westinghouse

13 August 2007

Toshiba has sold 10% of its majority share in Westinghouse to Kazatomprom, the Kazakh state-owned uranium producer. The sale will reduce Toshiba's debt levels and open new markets to Kazatomprom.

Toshiba led a group of firms which bought the US-based reactor vendor from the UK's BNFL in 2005 for $5.4 billion, taking 77% for itself. The purchase created a global nuclear business with expertise in both pressurised water and boiling water reactors and large interests in Europe, Japan and the USA.

Now, Kazatomprom's purchase of 10% of Westinghouse from Toshiba for $540 million in cash should further Westinghouse and Toshiba's overall capabilities through access to Kazakhstan's uranium reserves - the second largest in the world.

Westinghouse's existing nuclear fuel business is capable of supplying and servicing most of the world's reactor designs and has annual sales of around $750 million, which Toshiba in 2005 did not predict would grow significantly. Current plans for new reactors include up to 18 of Westinghouse's AP1000 units in pairs at seven sites in the USA and two in China. New reactors are usually fuelled by the vendor and require a full-core load, two to three times bigger than typical subsequent reloads.

The share transfer agreement signed on 13 August would see Kazatomprom become a minor shareholder in Westinghouse with 10% in about a month, following
regulatory procedures. A spokesman for Kazatomprom President Moukhtar Dzhakishev told World Nuclear News the company would gain a seat on the Westinghouse board.

Toshiba would retain a controlling stake of 67%, as Kazatomprom become the third largest shareholder in Westinghouse after Shaw Group with 20%, and ahead of Ishikawajima Heavy Industries with 5%.

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