The Trump administration is working to find a new owner for Westinghouse, the bankrupt US nuclear engineering group, to ensure that it does not fall under Chinese control. One US official said the White House would move to stop Chinese companies playing central roles in any consortium that might buy Westinghouse from its parent Toshiba, but did not rule out the possibility that they could make a “passive investment”. The official said the administration was “keenly aware” of the national security implications attached to the sale of the company, and was trying to pre-empt any possible blocking of a deal by making clear at an early stage that the US government would take a tough stance on any significant Chinese role. A US-led deal for even the profitable operations of Westinghouse could be tricky to arrange. The only US company with substantial nuclear engineering operations is General Electric, through its joint venture with Hitachi, but its technology is different from Westinghouse’s. Kepco of South Korea has been seen in the industry as the most likely bidder for parts of Westinghouse, but Cho Hwan-eik, its president, said last month that the company had “no plan” to buy Toshiba’s stake. Westinghouse has close links to China, where it has four of its AP1000 reactors under construction. As part of the deal for those projects, Westinghouse agreed to transfer intellectual property relating to the plants. More than 75,000 documents were handed over to its Chinese customers in 2010 in the first stage of implementing that agreement.
FT 6th April 2017 read more »
Administration officials so far have examined three potential courses to keep Westinghouse out of Chinese hands, said a person familiar with the discussions. The government might block a sale to a Chinese buyer; encourage an alternative bid from U.S. or friendly foreign investors; or the government might invest in the company directly in return for an equity stake, akin to the Obama administration bailout of U.S. automakers.
Bloomberg 5th April 2017 read more »