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article imageJapan's Toshiba to buy 60% stake in British nuclear firm

By AFP     Jan 15, 2014 in Business

Japan's Toshiba said Wednesday it would buy a controlling interest in British nuclear firm NuGeneration as it tries to rekindle an atomic business hammered by the 2011 Fukushima crisis.

The engineering giant said it had reached a deal with NuGeneration's owners -- France's GDF Suez and Spain's Iberdrola -- to take a 60 percent stake in the firm, which plans to build nuclear power plants in northwest England.

The purchase was worth about 102 million pounds ($167 million), but it was "subject to adjustment", Toshiba said without elaborating.

Toshiba's Tokyo-listed shares jumped 4.54 percent to 483 yen in early afternoon trading.

After closing the deal, expected in the first half of the year, Toshiba will hold the majority stake in the British firm, while GDF Suez will own 40 percent. The French and Spanish firms each currently hold a 50 percent share of NuGen.

"Toshiba, in collaboration with its group company, Westinghouse Electric...intends to move forward with the construction of three (pressurised water) nuclear reactors (in England) in partnership with GDF Suez," it said in a statement.

Toshiba boosted its interest in US-based Westinghouse last year as it eyes nuclear opportunities outside disaster-struck Japan.

Rival Hitachi said in 2012 it would buy British power firm Horizon to expand its business overseas.

Japan's nuclear stations have been shut down since 2011, when reactors at the Fukushima power plant were sent into meltdown after being hit by an earthquake-sparked tsunami, causing the world's worst atomic accident in a generation.

It also decimated demand for new atomic plants in Japan.

Japan's pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing a drive to sign atomic contracts abroad.

Last year, Japan and Turkey agreed along-awaited deal to build a sprawling nuclear power plant on Turkey's Black Sea coast, marking the first order for Japan's atomic sector since the 2011 crisis.

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