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Toshiba’s financial woes to be topic of SCANA earnings call

Chuck Crumbo
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SCANA executives are expected to comment during Thursday’s 2016 earnings call on how Toshiba Corp.’s mounting financial losses might impact the ongoing construction of two reactor units at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

Toshiba is the parent of Westinghouse Electric Co., which is the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the new units at the Jenkinsville facility, which is operated by SCANA’s principal subsidiary, South Carolina Electric & Gas, and state-owned Santee Cooper.

Earlier today, Toshiba announced plans to write off more than $6 billion in business because of massive losses related to its nuclear business, primarily the construction of new plants in China and the United States.

Meanwhile, Santee Cooper has called an executive session of its board for this afternoon at the offices of the McNair Law Firm in Columbia. The topic of the closed-door session will be to discuss “attorney-client privilege relating to new nuclear construction,” according to an agenda emailed to the news media.

No announcement is expected to be made following the meeting, a Santee Cooper spokeswoman said.

The V.C. Summer project already has been hit with cost overruns and construction delays.

Last year, officials reported that the total bill had climbed to $13.9 billion from initial projection of $11.4 billion (in current dollars). Additionally, the new units are more than two years behind schedule with the first expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2019, and second around Aug. 31, 2020.

Toshiba announced just after Christmas that it would have to write off losses incurred from Westinghouse’s $229 million acquisition of CB&I Stone & Webster, which had been the contractor on the V.C. Summer project and Georgia Power’s reactor project near Waynesboro, Ga.

Toshiba said today its losses are expected to total about 712.5 billion yen or $6.3 billion, largely the result of Westinghouse’s failure to account for potential liabilities associated with the acquisition of CB&I Stone Webster.

Toshiba said that its lawyers were trying to determine if Westinghouse senior managers had exerted “inappropriate pressure” on other employees who were reviewing the deal to buy CB&I Stone Webster, the New York Times reported.

In a press release, Toshiba signaled that it was dropping out of the business of building new nuclear plants and focusing its efforts on making parts for reactors, maintaining and decommissioning existing facilities, and continuing to manufacture nuclear fuel.

Westinghouse operates a nuclear fuel facility in Lower Richland County.

Reach Chuck Crumbo at 803-726-7542.

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