Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Toshiba's nuclear unit Westinghouse files for bankruptcy protection

Embattled Toshiba says its Westinghouse Electric (WE) nuclear division, which has interests in the UK, has filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors.
The Japanese firm confirmed the development as it faces a growing bill from a business beset by project delays, cost over-runs and allegations of accounting fraud.

The struggles at WE were largely borne out of the world shying away from nuclear energy in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, caused by the Pacific earthquake and tsunami.

Toshiba put WE liabilities at almost $10bn (£8bn) as of December - saying that it expected its net loss for the current financial year to the end of March could top 1tn yen (£7.2bn).

"Since December 2016, WE and Toshiba have been working to determine the scale of the possible loss, investigate the causes and to implement preventive measures and actions," the company said.

Toshiba has been granted two extensions to allow it to publish quarterly results that were originally due in February.

It could be delisted from the Japanese stock market unless it meets an 11 April deadline.

The troubles at Westinghouse are a concern in the UK as it is a major partner in the planned Moorside nuclear power station in Cumbria.
WE said while the filing would not impact operations because it had financing in place, it was unclear whether that pledge extended to future projects.

The joint venture for the Sellafield plant told Sky News it remained "business as usual".

"NuGen is continuing to develop its Moorside Project to deliver three Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in West Cumbria.

NuGen will continue to work alongside our technology supplier, Westinghouse, and our shareholders, Toshiba and Engie, in taking forward the Moorside development phase."

What the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection gives the company is a temporary shelter as it tries to restructure its business and associated liabilities.

The company is an important cog in the energy sector as its technology is used in around half the world's nuclear reactors.

Analysts said its decision after Fukushima to focus on more decontamination and decommissioning work through the purchase of a services business two years ago only added to its woes.

SKY    News.