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Westinghouse Could Be Sold By Year End, Washington Tells India: Sources

Westinghouse Could Be Sold By Year End, Washington Tells India: Sources
The prospect of a Washington-supported sale or bailout for the nuclear firm was raised as the U.S. administration has told India that Westinghouse Electric Co will emerge from bankruptcy and be sold by the year end, sources have said.
A shadow over the nuclear industry was cast after Japanese-owned Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 in March after an estimated $13 billion of cost overruns at two U.S. projects, and India, like other nuclear nations, has been closely watching the fate of Westinghouse.
Since owner Toshiba, the laptop-to-chips conglomerate, announced the blow-out at Westinghouse last year, there has been debate over potential U.S. support for the reactor maker.
Washington would prefer to keep Westinghouse's advanced nuclear technology out of the hands of its foreign rivals and some form of U.S. backing or involvement, industry experts say, could avoid a Chinese or Russian buyer which is unpalatable to the U.S.
The White House declined comment.
"We were told that, by the end of the year, Westinghouse would really rework its situation and really be back in business," India's foreign secretary, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, told a briefing, referring to an exit from bankruptcy.
More than a decade of diplomatic efforts was crowned by the proposed construction of six Westinghouse AP1000 reactors in India's Andhra Pradesh, announced in 2016, and civil nuclear cooperation has been a cornerstone of U.S.-India relations.
However, in the Indian government's joint communique from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington a week ago, the project found specific mention.
The communique said that the two leaders "looked forward to conclusion of contractual agreements between Westinghouse Electric Company and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India for six nuclear reactors in India and also related project financing."
The way to pave road for to close the reactor deal in 2018 was done by U.S. guidance that Westinghouse would be sold to a U.S. investor after emerging from Chapter 11 proceedings, and the joint statement mention was backed by U.S. assurance to that effect.
Elaborating, one industry source with direct knowledge of Westinghouse's talks with India said: "Both sides are engaged and once Westinghouse comes out of bankruptcy we would look to conclude the contract," said a source with direct knowledge of Westinghouse's talks with India, reported the media.
"The bankruptcy is on track and should wrap up by year end," said a diplomat involved in preparations for the Modi-Trump meeting corroborated this timeline.
Prediction on when Westinghouse would emerge from Chapter 11 was not possible for Toshiba to make, the company said. it said that no decision has been taken on searching for a buyer, because the bankruptcy court has not yet approved a restructuring plan.
The door was left open to a potential deal by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whom diplomats say plans to lead a business delegation to India in October.
"This is a lot bigger issue than just allowing the United States a couple of plants in the southern part of the United States," he told reporters.
"This is a massively important issue for the security of America and the security for America's allies."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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