ShareThis Page
News

Westinghouse being sold for $4.6 billion; impact on Western Pennsylvania unclear

Aaron Aupperlee
| Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, 9:57 a.m.
Brookfield Business Partners is buying Westinghouse Electric, headquartered in Cranberry, in a deal valued at $4.6 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.
Brookfield Business Partners is buying Westinghouse Electric, headquartered in Cranberry, in a deal valued at $4.6 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.
Westinghouse Electric Co. is being bought by Brookfield Business Partners LP in a deal worth about $4.6 billion.
Google
Westinghouse Electric Co. is being bought by Brookfield Business Partners LP in a deal worth about $4.6 billion.

Westinghouse Electric will be sold to Brookfield Business Partners LP in a deal valued at about $4.6 billion.

Westinghouse, with its headquarters in Cranberry and facilities scattered throughout Western Pennsylvania, declared bankruptcy in March, leaving thousands of jobs and the state of nuclear power in the United States in limbo.

Cyrus Madon, CEO of Toronto-based Brookfield, said in a statement he hopes the firm will strengthen Westinghouse. Madon called Westinghouse a “high business” and a “leader in its field” and said the company has a “reputation for innovation.”

“We look forward to bringing our significant expertise and reputation as a long-term owner and operator of critical infrastructure in the U.S. and globally, as well as our deep facilities management capabilities, to enhance the company's position as a leading global infrastructure services provider to the power generation industry.”

José Emeterio Gutiérrez, president and CEO of Westinghouse, appeared optimistic about the future of the company under Brookfield.

“Brookfield's acquisition of Westinghouse reaffirms our position as the leader of the global nuclear industry,” Gutiérrez said in a statement. “Our transformation and strategic restructuring process is creating a stronger, stable and more streamlined global Westinghouse business, for the benefit of our customers and employees.”

Westinghouse, the U.S. nuclear unit of Toshiba, said Thursday the transaction doesn't involve cash but includes the assumption of a number of pension, environmental and operating obligations.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018. It still requires bankruptcy court approval.

What impact the deal will have on Westinghouse properties, operations and employees in Western Pennsylvania was not immediately clear. Sarah Cassella, a spokeswoman for Westinghouse, said Thursday there will be no additional layoffs because of the sale and that the company does not anticipate further cuts after the sale is complete. Westinghouse employs about 3,400 people in Western Pennsylvania, down more than a thousand from the 4,500 it employed in March when the company announced its bankruptcy.

Westinghouse announced in September it would layoff up to 1,500 people.

Westinghouse did not immediately answer questions about the fate of its Cranberry headquarters. The company put some office space on the market in December.

“Over the last several months, we have focused on optimizing the use of our real estate properties globally, allowing our businesses to operate more efficiently,” the company said in a statement.

Cranberry Township Manager Jerry Andree said news of the sale is a good sign.

“We see this is a very positive step for Westinghouse, and we're confident it will help keep Westinghouse in Western PA,” he said.

Westinghouse also was in talks with the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. to sell some of its land at Waltz Mill in Sewickley Township, Westmoreland County. It is not yet known if Westinghouse's sale to Brookfield would affect that deal.

Brookfield would not comment Thursday on the fate of the Cranberry headquarters or whether there would be additional layoffs.

Westinghouse said it will continue to operate and maintain its existing senior management throughout the process of the sale.

The acquisition by Brookfield comes one day after an agreement that ties up loose ends from two failed nuclear reactors in South Carolina.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. abandoned construction on reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station. Thousands were left jobless in the wake of the $9 billion failure, which owners blamed on the plight of Westinghouse, the lead contractor. A deal proposed Wednesday could mean $1.3 billion in refunds for utility customers affected by the failed project.

The nuclear industry has struggled because of the tremendous cost of building massive reactors and the accelerating shift to other forms of energy such as natural gas and alternative energy, including solar. The industry, and Toshiba in particular, has been subjected to tighter regulatory control since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in northeastern Japan.

Toshiba has been dumping assets to cover for its disastrous immersion into nuclear power, a play it once saw as a safe infrastructure investment, free of the seasonal fluctuations of the power generation industry.

Technology in fracking, a form of drilling, and alternative energy has upended the power sector.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me