Toshiba unit Westinghouse files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Filing allows company to renegotiate or break its construction contracts

The Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 site, being constructed by primary contactor Westinghouse, a business unit of Toshiba, near Waynesboro, Georgia.

The Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 site, being constructed by primary contactor Westinghouse, a business unit of Toshiba, near Waynesboro, Georgia.

 

Toshiba’s US nuclear unit Westinghouse has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Nikkei reported in a news alert on Wednesday.

Reuters said on Tuesday the troubled unit intended to file for Chapter 11 protection from creditors, as the conglomerate seeks to limit losses that have plunged it into crisis.

Toshiba had approved the filing at a board meeting earlier in the day.

The group said it could not comment on issues discussed at its board meetings. A bankruptcy filing would allow Westinghouse, whose nuclear plant projects have been dogged by delays and cost overruns, to renegotiate or break its construction contracts, although the utilities that own the projects would likely seek damages.

It would imperil the completion of Westinghouse’s nuclear power plants under construction in the southern United States, where ratepayers have already been covering some of the costs in their monthly electricity bills.

The future of Westinghouse has already been raised in bilateral talks between Japan and the United States with Japan fearing that Westinghouse’s collapse will incite criticism from US president Donald Trump over the impact it could have on local jobs and finances.

The US government has granted loan guarantees totaling $8.3 billion to the utilities commissioning the Georgia project. Westinghouse also has nuclear projects in varying degrees of development in India, the United Kingdom and China.

The company, founded by American engineer and inventor George Westinghouse in 1886, employs 12,000 people worldwide, according to its website.

Reuters