Toshiba gets rid of Westinghouse for $4.6 billion

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Brookfield Business Partners will acquire Toshiba Corp.'s bankrupt subsidiary Westinghouse Electric for $4.6 billion, the company said Thursday. The vehicle was created in 2016, shortly after Brookfield Capital Partners IV, the Toronto investor's fourth mid-market PE fund, was closed at US$4 billion.

Brookfield says that the deal will be financed with US$1bn of equity, US$3bn of long-term debt financing and the balance by the assumption of pension, environmental and other operating obligations.

Representatives for Blackstone and Apollo weren't immediately available for comment.

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The deal marks a positive turn in a long saga of financial woes stemming from USA reactor projects that dragged Westinghouse into bankruptcy, ensnared its parent, Toshiba Corp., and also battered US utilities that had taken on their construction.

The demise of Westinghouse was a major setback for the country's nuclear industry, potentially dooming new nuclear build in the U.S. Problems with its AP1000 nuclear reactor models led to two major nuclear projects falling behind schedule and mounting costs. Brookfield also agreed to buy significant assets in the wind and solar energy industry that had been ensnared in SunEdison Inc.'s bankruptcy.

Despite problems with two USA nuclear projects, Brookfield says the company is a leader in providing nuclear infrastructure and operates within a complex regulatory and licensing environment requiring depth of expertise and capability.

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One of Westinghouse's unfinished USA projects, known as Vogtle in Georgia, will continue with Southern Co replacing the company as the project manager. Hillsdale Investment Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Brookfield Business Partners L.P. Limited Partnership Units by 3.9% during the third quarter.

Westinghouse had backed out of the two USA projects after it filed for Chapter 11, setting off a chain of events for the utilities involved. In past days, Dominion Energy Inc. has offered to buy Scana.

The Japanese conglomerate first revealed plans to sell Westinghouse late a year ago, after heavy delays to two of its nuclear projects drove the troubled engineering group to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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Toshiba has been majority owner of Westinghouse Electric since 2006 and achieved full ownership previous year by buying a minority shareholder's 10 per cent stake for about US$522 million.

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