Toshiba to buy BNFL’s Westinghouse for $5bn

Toshiba is set to purchase Westinghouse from British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) for a figure believed to be in the region of $5bn.

In a released statement, BNFL confirmed that it had selected the Japanese company as the preferred bidder for the right to purchase its nuclear power plant manufacturing arm and that its board would recommend that the offer is approved.

The company stated that Toshiba’s bid was the highest and offered the best chance for growth. In a statement Toshiba later affirmed its intention for Westinghouse to retain its name as well as its base in Pittsburgh, USA.

Analysts expected that Westinghouse would be sold for around $2bn when BNFL declared it was seeking a buyer last July.

EDF investors see red

Two banks that advised the French government on the floatation of EDF are being investigated by the market watchdog after it emerged that they had bought shares in the utility on behalf of their investors without permission.

The two banks, Crédit Lyonnais and Société Générale, confirmed that they had received a number of complaints from clients they had not sought permission from and said they would be reimbursed immediately.

EDF’s share price fell on the first day of trading, leaving investors with a loss. The price has rallied since and was hovering around €36 ($44) at the end of January, slightly up from the original price of €33. Despite attracting a record number of private investors, many market analysts at the time of the issue warned that the original price was too high.

Furmanite goes with the flow

Furmanite has acquired Flowserve’s General Service Group (GSG) in a $16m deal it hopes will give it greater strength in the maintenance and repair market.

A statement released by the industrial services company said its new acquisition would allow it to offer a broader range of solutions to its customers including expertise in leak sealing, hot tapping, on-site machining, and valve service and repair.

GSG currently operates in North America and Europe and has what Furmanite described as a “significant market share” in third-party valve repair, as well as in third-party on-line services such as hot tapping and field machining.

Furmanite will also gain the IPSCO brand and intellectual capital as part of the deal.

Microgen heading for home CHP

A new micro-combined heat and power appliance that could save the average household 25 per cent on their annual energy bills has been developed by Microgen Energy and the Dutch boiler manufacturer Remeha.

The appliance simultaneously produces heat for the home as well as over 1 kW of electricity. It uses the latest condensing boiler technology and also a free-piston Stirling generator to convert the energy in natural gas to electricity and hot water.

The two companies plan to test the product extensively in the laboratory and with consumers before launching it at an exhibition in Frankfurt in March 2007. It will be commercially available a few months later.

Mirant completes recovery

Shares in the US utility, Mirant were trading steadily at the end of January after the company began trading again on the New York Stock Exchange.

Trading re-commenced mid-January, a week after the company declared that it had emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Mirant secured $2.35bn in exit financing as well as completing numerous other criteria necessary for it to re-start trading without protection.

More than $6bn of debt and liabilities have been converted into equity in the reorganized company, which will nearly halve its overall debt. The firm had spent 30 months in the bankruptcy process.

SF6 gas service launched by BOC

A new service that will help electricity companies meet European rules on recovering a fluoride compound widely used in electrical substations and transformers has been launched by BOC.

Under the proposed European fluorinated gas regulation, electricity companies will be required to recover sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) a compound widely used in electrical substations and transformers due to its unique insulation properties.

The range of BOC’s new services include on-site analysis of SF6 gas, leak detection, gas cart maintenance and provision of cylinders to house the gas either temporarily or permanently.

News digest

Brand expansion: Jaure, a coupling manufacturer in northern Spain will soon have a greater presence in Europe according to its new owners, a mechanical power transmission division of Emerson Industrial Automation.

Deals in the can: Kohler Co., the global operator in engines and power generator systems has acquired three France based companies, which all operate in separate fields of the genset industry.

E.ON climbs MOL hill: E.ON has agreed to assume debts of around €600m ($737m) and pay €450m in a deal that will see it acquire all of the gas trading and storage assets of the Hungarian oil and gas company MOL.

Endesa moves east: Endesa is to make its first foray into eastern Europe with the purchase of an 85 per cent stake in the Polish electricity generator, Elektrownia Dolna Orda as the government continues its privatization programme.

Fuel cell patent: Voller Energy Group, a developer and manufacturer of portable fuel cell systems has patented a technology that enables its fuel cell system to provide mains output and work from internal canisters of stored hydrogen.

GE finds filters: GE has acquired the inlet filtration solution provider, Altair Filter Technology Group, with the intention of further expanding its operations in the environmental services arena.

Iraqi distribution: Cummins will distribute its brand products and equipment in Iraq after it announced that it had signed a deal with HMBS at 2005’s Power-Gen International in Las Vegas.

Online shopping: A new website dedicated to the buying and selling of used, second hand and surplus equipment used in the utility and power industry has been launched by Eutilita.

Reliability acquired: Ivara has extended its reach in the field of reliability centred maintenance (RCM) with the acquisition of RCM specialist Aladon.

REpower boost: REpower Systems expects to install at least 250 wind turbines in the 2006 financial year and has therefore increased its sales forecast by €50m ($61m) to €450m.

Solar stake: International Power has signed a binding letter of intent to purchase 51 per cent of GiraSolar, a privately held Dutch manufacturer of photovoltaic solar modules and a range of related electronic devices.

Trader traded: Shares in the parent company of Henry Butcher International, the global operator in auctions and valuations of used industrial machinery and equipment have started trading on the London Stock Exchange.

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