With the future of the domestic nuclear industry uncertain, Toshiba Corp. is looking to bolster its overseas business with the acquisition of a company planning a nuclear plant in Britain for upward of 10 billion yen ($100 million), sources said.
Toshiba is in the final stage of negotiations for purchasing more than 50 percent of NuGeneration Ltd. through subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co., a U.S. nuclear reactor builder.
Toshiba, which holds a leading 30 percent share of the global market of nuclear reactor construction with Westinghouse, hopes to close the deal by year-end, the sources said.
NuGeneration, based in Britain, is owned equally by two major electric utilities, France’s GDF Suez SA and Spain’s Iberdrola SA.
The joint venture hopes to open a 3.6-gigawatt nuclear power facility, about the capacity of two to three large reactors, in central Britain by 2023.
It will be the first time that Toshiba has acquired a nuclear plant operator overseas. Operation of the British plant will be commissioned to other companies.
Toshiba plans to reinforce its nuclear power business in Europe, Asia and elsewhere because construction of new reactors will be difficult in Japan given the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and mounting public opposition.
The company is bidding for two reactor construction projects in Finland and also aims to win contracts in the Middle East and India. Europe is a powerful domain of France’s Areva SA, the world’s second-largest reactor builder after Toshiba.
Toshiba plans to increase sales from its nuclear power business, including construction and maintenance of reactors, to 800 billion yen in fiscal 2017 from 500 billion yen, or slightly less than 10 percent of its group revenue, in fiscal 2012.
Domestic rival Hitachi Ltd. acquired a British nuclear plant operator for 85 billion yen last year.
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