Toshiba Corp. could begin the process to sell a majority stake in Westinghouse Electric Co. this fall as the US company makes its way through a bankruptcy proceeding, according to Mark Marano, Westinghouse’s chief operating officer.
Tokyo-based Toshiba has “signaled pretty clearly to the market” that it wants to divest a majority stake in Westinghouse, Marano said in an interview at the Nuclear Energy Assembly in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Tuesday. Toshiba put Westinghouse into bankruptcy in the US on March 29 and has since warned it may not be able to continue as a going concern because of the losses from the business.
Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa has said the company may sell the unit which has been hit with billions of dollars in losses from cost overruns on nuclear projects. Possible bidders may come from China or South Korea, which are developing their own reactors for export, according to analysts and academics. Private equity firms are also among potential suitors. Apollo Global Management LLC won a bidding war to lend Westinghouse $800 million to fund operations as it tries to reorganize.
The process of selling Toshiba’s Westinghouse stake “may materialize into the fall, once we get further along in the Chapter 11 process,” Marano said. “At which point in time they may engage in a formal process to potentially seek new ownership for us.” Toshiba shares rose as much as 12 percent and traded 7.8 percent higher in Tokyo.
Westinghouse expects to file a business plan to bankruptcy court and with a debtor in possession financing committee led by Apollo in July, David Howell, Westinghouse’s president of Americas region, said in a separate interview at the conference. The company expects approval of the plan “some months after,” he said.
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