Hitachi Ltd is looking to sell a stake in its UK nuclear unit as it aims to reduce the financial risk of building two nuclear power plants in the European country.
Hitachi is in discussions on selling a share in Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd with a number of parties before it makes a final investment decision on the plants in 2019, Masatoshi Terashi, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Hitachi said on Friday. Power companies are among those interested in buying a share, chief financial officer Mitsuaki Nishiyama said separately during an earnings briefing. Both declined to name the companies or give a value for Horizon.
Hitachi agreed to buy Horizon five years ago to reduce its reliance on electronics and target renewed interest in nuclear power plants in the UK. Among the companies looking at the nuclear unit, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power said in a statement on Friday that it’s in the initial stages of reviewing “various ways to cooperate” with Horizon Nuclear Power, after Hitachi suggested cooperation. South Korea, which has been building reactors since the 1970s, has been positioning itself as a potential successor to pioneers of the industry such as Westinghouse Electric Co and Areva SA, which have become mired in cost overruns and construction delays. Korea Hydro and partner Korea Electric Power Co won a UAE nuclear plant deal and are currently building four of its reactors in the Gulf Arab nation.
Japanese technology giant Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse unit filed for bankruptcy earlier this year after a failed bet on a revival in US atomic power. Westinghouse supplied the world’s first commercial pressurised water reactor more than half a century ago and about half the world’s nuclear power plants are based on Westinghouse technology.
Korea Hydro and Kepco co-developed South Korea’s homegrown nuclear reactor, known as the APR-1400, which meets safety standards in developed countries like the US and UK, according to Korea Electric.
Hitachi shares in Tokyo declined 1% to close at ¥721.1 on Friday. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.6%.
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