Toshiba mulls selling stake in UK nuclear project
Potential deal with South Korea's Kepco intended to limit risk exposure
TOKYO -- Toshiba is considering selling an interest in a U.K. nuclear venture to Korea Electric Power Corp., aiming to reduce its involvement in the riskier side of the atomic power business in the wake of massive losses linked to U.S. projects.
The Japanese conglomerate controls 60% of NuGeneration, a joint venture planning to build a nuclear plant in northwestern England. Toshiba has sought to unload part of this stake for some time.
The company has discreetly approached Kepco about a deal. Going forward, the two sides will hash out such details as how much of NuGen will change hands. Toshiba will likely also request help with manpower, such as sending Kepco nuclear engineers to the U.S. and elsewhere amid a shortage in Japan.
Toshiba bought its NuGen stake in 2014 for 102 million pounds ($127 million at current rates) from Spain's Iberdrola and France's GDF Suez, now Engie, which still holds the remaining 40%. A final decision on whether to break ground on the project is due in 2018.
Toshiba officials including President Satoshi Tsunakawa are expected to outline steps for improving oversight of the nuclear business at an earnings briefing Tuesday. One likely measure is setting up a committee at Westinghouse Electric, the subsidiary responsible for the loss, to evaluate its profits and finances on a daily basis. Toshiba's goal of winning orders for at least 45 new reactors by fiscal 2030 will likely be effectively scrapped.