Toshiba’s management has come under fierce criticism from shareholders, despite investors approving plans to sell its valuable memory chip unit. The company needs money to plug a gaping hole at its US nuclear unit Westinghouse, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday. Due to the woes at Westinghouse, Toshiba is struggling with debt that some warn might threaten its future. One investor said management had turned Toshiba “into a laughing stock”. “You have no clue what’s going on,” the investor added, speaking at a shareholder meeting that approved the sale of Toshiba’s NAND flash-memory unit. The company has twice postponed its annual earnings and is now expected to file a net loss of 1tn yen ($9bn, £7.bn), which would be one of the biggest losses in the country’s corporate history.
BBC 30th March 2017 read more »
Shareholders accused Toshiba management of having an entrenched culture of secrecy and glaring failures in oversight as they cast doubt over the company’s revival plan a day after its US nuclear unit filed for bankruptcy protection. In a stormy meeting lasting more than three hours, the 142-year-old conglomerate, which faces Japan’s biggest industrial loss and the risk of delisting, sought to convince more than 1,300 rattled shareholders that the worst was behind them following Westinghouse’s Chapter 11 filing. Few investors were convinced. “There is a chronic culture of lying. We can’t possibly trust such a company.
FT 30th March 2017 read more »
One of the troubled reactor construction projects in the US that have forced nuclear engineering group Westinghouse into bankruptcy could be stopped, the new plant’s largest shareholder has suggested. South Carolina-based Scana, the utility that owns 55 per cent of the VC Summer power plant where two new Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are being built, said on Wednesday that the options available included stopping one of the units or abandoning the project.
FT 30th March 2017 read more »
If only Britain hadn’t sold Westinghouse. Just think of all that nuclear expertise: the sort that’s just seen the company crash into Chapter 11 administration, with liabilities now up to $9.8 billion. It’s pretty much ruined its parent, Japan’s Toshiba, too. Among the many things for which Gordon Brown gets deserved flak, getting shot of Westinghouse while he was chancellor isn’t one of them: sold for $5.4 billion in 2006, or more than four times what Britain paid for it. The subsequent tale is horribly familiar in this post-Fukushima world, where mega-nuke safety costs have rocketed: four reactors in Georgia and South Carolina now $10 billion over budget and three years late. And all exacerbated by Westinghouse’s desperate purchase of the US nuclear construction outfit Stone & Webster in an attempt to halt a legal fight over who was to blame for the ballooning costs. There’s an obvious lesson for Britain. It’s that massive nuclear power plants are a licence to blow yourself up financially. And that’s before the soaraway clean-up costs, already driven home this week by the botched contract for 12 Magnox reactors. Indeed, Britain’s clean-up bill already stands at £117 billion. How many more nuclear disasters before the government finally wakes up?
Times March 30 2017 read more »
Westinghouse Electric Co., once synonymous with America’s industrial might, wagered its future on nuclear power — and lost. Now a unit of Japanese technology giant Toshiba Corp., Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy-court protection, citing as much as $10 billion in debt. The move marks the end of a troubled era, which began in 1999, when the company ditched its other businesses to focus on reactors. Since then, nuclear power has failed to catch on because of the cost of building reactors in communities that often oppose them and declining costs for competing technologies. “They placed a big bet on this hallucination of a nuclear renaissance,” said Peter A Bradford, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission member who now teaches at Vermont Law School. “Toshiba seemed to believe that all the nuclear plants were actually going to get built. Nuclear power in the last round was a financial disaster, and it is in this one too.”
Japan Times 30th March 2017 read more »
In February 2006, then Toshiba Corp. President Atsutoshi Nishida declared to a London audience that his firm would become a world standard-setting nuclear reactor maker. Nishida was there to ink the contract that would make U.S. nuclear technology firm Westinghouse Electric Co. a Toshiba subsidiary, and at the ceremony Nishida looked and sounded ready to take on the world. Toshiba paid some US$5.4 billion (about 640 billion yen) to acquire Westinghouse. Before the deal was closed, observers had seen past business partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. as Westinghouse’s most likely suitor, and projected a purchase price in the 200 to 300 billion yen range. However, Toshiba swooped in and sealed the deal with what could be called a stratospheric bid.
Mainichi 30th March 2017 read more »
Westinghouse Electric Co,’s much-anticipated bankruptcy petition — filed in the wee hours Wednesday morning — describes a company in quicksand, where two money-sucking reactor projects in Georgia and South Carolina brought down the Cranberry-based nuclear firm and threatened to do the same to its Japanese parent, the electronics giant Toshiba Corp. As more than 11,000 employees and thousands of vendors worldwide braced for what a bankruptcy would mean for this nuclear giant — and what it will mean for the broader nuclear industry — documents filed in the Southern District of New York Bankruptcy Court chronicled a desperate few months as it became clear that Toshiba was looking for ways to stop the bleeding. By January, Westinghouse’s “liquidity crisis” had the Pennsylvania company asking Toshiba for cash to stay afloat long enough to figure out its next moves. Within the course of two months, Toshiba gave Westinghouse $900 million to plug a cash hole. When Westinghouse came back in March asking for more, Toshiba said it couldn’t shell out any more money without collateral. Westinghouse went out looking for someone to fund its Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring and was “soon inundated with proposals from a number of prominent banks, private equity firms and hedge funds in a highly competitive process,” its bankruptcy petition said. New York-based alternative investment management firm Apollo Investment Corp. won out, with an $800 million debtor-in-possession financing package, of which Toshiba would provide at most $200 million, the Japanese company said. The bankruptcy court still has to approve the arrangement.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 29th March 2017 read more »
Westinghouse Electric Co. on March 29 filed for protections under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. A Westinghouse press release said the company is seeking a strategic restructuring as a result of certain financial and construction challenges in its U.S. AP1000 power plant projects.
Nuclear Energy Institute 30th March 2017 read more »
Westinghouse Electric — whose technology is used in more than half the world’s nuclear power plants — is shifting its focus from building reactors to helping dismantle them, the latest sign of the decline of the U.S. atomic energy industry. The company, which filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, is scaling back on construction, where disastrous projects in Georgia and South Carolina have exposed Westinghouse to billions of dollars in possible liabilities and penalties. It wants to focus on its other businesses, including making parts and taking apart decommissioned reactors.
Bloomberg 29th March 2017 read more »