Toshiba ends agreements with US CB&I

18 May 2016

Japan's Toshiba and US CB&I have agreed to terminate agreements signed in 2010 between Toshiba and Shaw Group related to construction of two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) at the South Texas Project (STP). Shaw was subsequently acquired by CB&I, which later sold the reactor construction business to Westinghouse, which is part of Toshiba. Earlier in 2008, Toshiba and US utility NRG Energy set up Nuclear Innovation North America (NINA), and applied for a combined construction and operation licence through the STP Nuclear Operating Company, which was granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in February. NINA owns over 92% of the STP newbuild project, and Toshiba has bankrolled the licensing process since NRG withdrew from the project in 2011.

In November 2010, Shaw Group and Toshiba announced a global strategic partnership giving Shaw exclusive rights to provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for Toshiba ABWRs, including a contract for the planned STP reactors. Shaw was to become the exclusive EPC contractor for Toshiba ABWRs in all countries except Japan and Vietnam for the next 20 years. However, Shaw and its affiliate, Stone & Webster, was acquired by CB&I in 2013, and Westinghouse acquired CB&I Stone & Webster in December 2015.

Toshiba said it recognises that, following the sale of its CB&I Stone & Webster unit, CB&I's business strategy is "now focused on sectors other than nuclear new build projects". As a result, it has reached agreement with CB&I to terminate the earlier agreements related to construction of ABWRs. Toshiba subsidiary Toshiba America Nuclear Energy (TANE), CB&I and NINA have also agreed that CB&I will be relieved of any future obligations related to the STP project.

Toshiba noted that terminating the agreements with CB&I "will improve the STP investment environment for future investors". However, it said that due to "current economic drivers in Texas and other related issues, it understands that NINA "does not plan to immediately commence construction of STP units 3 and 4". TANE now becomes the sole EPC contractor of the STP units and will select an architect engineering company when the project moves to construction.

In April, Toshiba announced that it expects to take an impairment charge of JPY260bn ($2.3bn) for part of the goodwill of its US-based nuclear power subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Company. The company announced a group net loss of JPY470bn for the year ended in March 2016, less than the previously estimated loss of JPY710bn, after the sale of key subsidiary Toshiba Medical Systems Corp.

The write-down on Westinghouse is a reversal of Toshiba's long-time refusal to mark down the JPY330bn goodwill value of the US company despite a deterioration in the nuclear business since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Toshiba led a group of firms which bought Westinghouse from the UK's BNFL in 2006 for $5.4bn, taking 77% for itself. It subsequently increased its stake in Westinghouse to 87%, with Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom holding 10% and Japanese heavy machinery maker IHI Corporation holding 3%. Investors have said that concerns over the value of the business have been a major reason behind the lack of recovery in Toshiba's share price following a $1.3bn accounting scandal in 2015.



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