Canadian fund to buy Westinghouse

The Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 site being constructed by primary contractor Westinghouse a business unit of Toshiba near Waynesboro Georgia is seen in an aerial

Canadian infrastructure investor Brookfield Asset Management has agreed to purchase struggling nuclear company Westinghouse Electric for $4.6B - a day after utility company Dominion Energy acquired SCANA Corp for $14.6B, with 2 unfinished nuclear reactors.

Toshiba's disastrous foray into the USA nuclear business is coming to an end.

While Westinghouse, which collapsed in March 2017, will seek rehabilitation under the fund's direction, Toshiba will try to recover from its own massive losses by cutting its former subsidiary loose.

Westinghouse boss José Emeterio Gutiérrez said the acquisition "reaffirms our position as the leader of the global nuclear industry".

Brookfield has a plan to reorganize its bankrupt US assets as well, according to a person with knowledge of the sale.

Westinghouse said Thursday that the deal with Brookfield doesn't involve cash, but includes the assumption of a number of pension, environmental and operating obligations. Toshiba did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Brookfield Business Partners LP and institutional partners will buy the Pittsburgh-based business using US$1 billion of equity and US$3 billion of long-term debt financing, according to a statement.

"The decision to sell Westinghouse is good news for creditors, as well as our company", Toshiba said Friday.

The Japanese company later announced in November that it was exploring alternatives to sell the USA -based company.

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One of Westinghouse's unfinished USA projects, known as Vogtle in Georgia, will continue with Southern Co. replacing the company as the project manager.

Westinghouse filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States in March 2017, partially blaming cost and time overruns at two U.S. nuclear plants in Georgia and SC.

So why is Brookfield buying?

Throughout the process, Westinghouse will continue to operate in the ordinary course of business under its existing senior management.

Westinghouse had backed out of the two USA projects after it filed for Chapter 11, setting off a chain of events for the utilities involved.

The sale offers a fresh start for Westinghouse, which was forced into bankruptcy previous year after suffering billions of dollars in losses from delays and cost overruns at nuclear plants under construction in Georgia and SC.

Created to be safer than reactors of old, the Westinghouse AP1000 design was supposed to revive an industry plagued by the accident at Three Mile Island in 1979.

The officials say Westinghouse is a leader in its field and has an established customer base.

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

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