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Toshiba Reportedly Beats Out GE, Mitsubishi for Westinghouse

January 24, 2006|From Times Wire Services

Toshiba Corp. is set to buy Westinghouse, the U.S. power plant arm of British Nuclear Fuels, for almost $5 billion, a source familiar with the situation said Monday.

Toshiba outbid rivals that included General Electric Co. and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., the source said.

Neither government-owned British Nuclear Fuels, whose board reportedly will meet Thursday to formally approve the sale, nor Toshiba would confirm the report.

Buying Westinghouse would help Toshiba profit from demand for nuclear energy in China, which could spend as much as $54 billion by 2020 on new reactors. Interest in nuclear energy is growing globally because of the increasing cost in dollars and environmental damage from burning fossil fuels.

"Domestic sales of nuclear power plants have been shrinking in Japan as utility companies cut back on investments, pushing equipment manufacturers to expand overseas," said Yasuhiro Matsumoto, a credit analyst at BNP Paribas Securities (Japan) Ltd. in Tokyo.

As Japan's second-largest electronics conglomerate, Toshiba offers a wide range of products, including nuclear reactors and flash memory chips.

Reuters and Bloomberg News were used in compiling this report.

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