Toshiba, Seeking Uranium, Sells 10% of Westinghouse to Kazakhs
By Nariman Gizitdinov
Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Toshiba Corp., Japan's biggest maker of nuclear reactors, sold a 10 percent stake in its Westinghouse Electric Co. unit to Kazakhstan's state uranium miner to gain access to the world's second-largest reserves of the metal.
Toshiba, which bought 77 percent of Westinghouse in October for about $4.16 billion, sold 10 percent to Kazatomprom for $540 million, Almaty-based Kazatomprom said in a statement today.
Kazakhstan, the world's third-biggest uranium miner, plans to become the largest by 2010 and boost its share of Japan's market to about a third from 1 percent now. The nation wants to use it reserves, which may be 20 percent of the world's total, to gain market share in all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, including power generation.
``The alliance of Toshiba, Kazatomprom and Westinghouse will lead to a global increase in nuclear energy production,'' Kazatomprom said in the statement.
Toshiba last week said it was in talks to buy a stake in a uranium mine in Kazakhstan from Marubeni Corp., Japan's fifth- largest trading company. Tokyo-based Toshiba plans to buy 22.5 percent of the mine, located in southern Kazakhstan, for tens of billions of yen, the Nikkei newspaper reported Aug.10, without saying where it got the information.
Annual sales to Japan may rise to about 4,000 metric tons by 2010, Moukhtar Dzhakishev, head of state-owned uranium miner Kazatomprom, said April 14. The majority of that will be uranium processed into nuclear fuel, Dzhakishev said. Japan used about 11,400 tons of uranium last year, about 60 percent of which came from Canada and Australia.
Toshiba was seeking investors to help pay for its 77 percent stake in Westinghouse. Shaw Group Inc. of the U.S. paid $1.08 billion for 20 percent of Westinghouse and Japan's Ishikawajima- Harima Heavy Industries Co. invested $162 million for 3 percent.
To contact the reporter on this story: Nariman Gizitdinov in Almaty, Kazakhstan, via firstname.lastname@example.org