Toshiba's Westinghouse to buy majority stake in nuclear fuel firm

Toshiba's Westinghouse to buy majority stake in nuclear fuel firmTokyo - Japanese electronics company Toshiba Corp on Thursday announced its US unit Westinghouse Electric Co would acquire a 52-per-cent stake in Nuclear Fuel Industries (NFI) to increase competitiveness in bidding for construction of nuclear power plants.

Westinghouse plans to buy a 26-per-cent stake each from Furukawa Electric Co and Sumitomo Electric Industries, which together own Nuclear Fuel Industries, for about
10 billion yen (103 million dollars) in May, Toshiba said.

"The acquisition of NFI will significantly enhance Westinghouse's commitment and support to the Japanese market," Joe Belechak, senior vice president of the Westinghouse nuclear fuel business unit, said in a statement released Wednesday.

Westinghouse, which owns fuel plants in the United States and Europe, aims to secure its position in Asia by acquiring the nuclear fuel firm.

NFI, Japan's sole producer of nuclear fuel for both boiled-water and pressurized-water reactors, was established in 1972 as a 50-50 venture by integrating the nuclear power businesses of the two Japanese firms.

For Toshiba, the expansion of its nuclear power business is crucial as it faces massive losses for the just-ended fiscal year 2008 due to its loss-incurring semiconductor operations.

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