Toshiba close to take over majority stake in UK nuclear project

Toshiba close to take over majority stake in UK nuclear projectHisao Tanaka, Toshiba Corp CEO on Thursday said that his company was still in discussions on taking over a stake in Britain's NuGen nuclear consortium and no deal had been finalised yet, in spite of Iberdrola SA's announcement this week of an agreement on a 50 percent stake sale.

He said securing a long-awaited majority holding in the NuGen consortium would guarantee a $14 billion deal for Toshiba's Westinghouse unit to supply three reactors for the project.

Tanaka mentioned that a deal was expected as early as January and restated that his company wanted a majority stake in the nuclear project, which is to be built at a site in Sellafield on England's northwest coast. That would necessitate purchasing a part of the stake held by GDF Suez who is Iberdrola's joint venture partner. Spanish utility Iberdrola SA (IBE MC), which is selling assets to reduce debt, said on Monday it has agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in NuGen to Toshiba for 85 million pounds ($139 million), subject to final approvals, terms and conditions.

Toshiba said that it wanted GDF Suez to stay a partial owner of the project and its eventual operator.