Houston, TX, United States

Time filter

Source Type

News Article | February 20, 2017
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

The company’s self-inflicted troubles, caused by cooking the books and mismanagement of its major acquisitions in the nuclear sector, have impacted projects in the U.S., the U.K., and India. The firm said it would exit the nuclear business worldwide. After weeks of media speculation, Japan’s Toshiba said on 2/14/17 it would book a barn burner of a loss estimated to be $6.3 billion related to its Westinghouse business unit which is building four nuclear reactors in the U.S. and four more in China. Conflicting statements about the firm’s 60% equity stake in NuGen’s Moorside power station, for three reactors, raised doubts with investors and the U.K. government about the future of the project. A plan to build six new reactors in India, which has been in the works for years, was thrown into limbo. The write down that wipes out its shareholder equity and leaves the conglomerate with virtually no cash. Toshiba’s chief executive officer and chairman Shigenori Shiga resigned from his post, assuming “management responsibility” for the company’s loss related to Westinghouse’s acquisition of CB&I Stone and Webster. Toshiba said it now plans to focus on its nuclear fuel and equipment supply businesses and will not provide engineering, procurement and construction contractor services for overseas projects, including ones in the UK, China and India. Toshiba also said it intends to “reduce risk” at eight overseas plants currently in progress by implementing “comprehensive cost reduction measures.” It did not provide details nor is it clear what it could do given that the U.S. projects are now several years late and over budget rattling state regulatory agencies which have to approve cost recovery charges to consumers. Prior coverage Toshiba’s Financial Meltdown Puts Its Nuclear Projects at Risk Worldwide Posted on January 1, 2017 Financial controls are an issue In July 2015 it was revealed that Toshiba raised $8 billion in capital based on false accounting statements that overstated earnings by $1.6 billion. Financial wire services including CNBC and Bloomberg reported that Toshiba spooked investors by not releasing its earnings on schedule, saying initially it was ‘not ready’ citing problems completing an internal audit. For their part, the auditors said they could not certify that Toshiba was a “going concern” which is accounting terminology for ‘not bankrupt.” The firm asked for a delay of 30 days to March 14 to revise its financial report. The numbers in the preliminary report could undergo a “major revision” according to wire services. To recover Toshiba headlined its financial announcement on 2/14 by saying it would consider selling Westinghouse. The firm also said it would consider selling a 20% equity stake in its computer chip business. Toshiba also said that a whistleblower had made allegations that it was investigating that there were problems with how the Westinghouse acquisition was handled but did not provide details. Internal reports, Toshiba said, indicated financial controls at Westinghouse had been “insufficient” and it needed to look actions by senior managers at Westinghouse involving the purchase of CB&I which is a major supplier of nuclear components to the U.S. reactor projects. There is an ongoing dispute between the two companies over the pricing of elements of the deal. According to the company statement, and as reported by NucNet, a wire service, the expected write-down was caused by a recalculation of the book value of CB&I Stone & Webster, the US construction-service firm purchased Westinghouse. Westinghouse said in January 2016 that it had completed the acquisition of CB&I Stone & Webster from Chicago Bridge & Iron, a Netherlands-based engineering and construction company. In July 2016, Chicago Bridge & Iron filed a lawsuit against Westinghouse as part of a dispute over the value of the acquired unit’s assets. The deal included the possibility of adjustments to the purchase price depending on the evaluation of the assets. The differences are reported to be at least $300 million. In separate statements in Japan Hitachi and Mitsubishi told the Financial Times, London, that they had no plans to acquire Toshiba’s nuclear business. This may impact the firm’s support for restart of some of Japan’s reactors that were shut down following the Fukushima crisis in 2011. The situation is uncertain in the U.S. In the U.S. Westinghouse told Southern Nuclear, which is building two AP1000s at a site in Georgia that it would finish the job. New completion dates were set for 2020 for both units. That firm has an $8.3 billion loan guarantee from the federal government which is a plus for its investors. However, in South Carolina, where Westinghouse offered a similar message of reassurance, SCANA said that if Westinghouse could not finish the job, it would find someone who would. The firm’s CEO reminded Toshiba, and the utility’s investors, that in 2016 it renegotiated the fixed price contract to complete the two reactors. Like the plants in Georgia, the state public utility commission has to approve rate increases to cover costs as the reactors are being built. Future of the Moorside Project in the U.K. In the U.K. there were conflicting reports about the commitment of Westinghouse to the NuGen project where three AP1000s are planned for the Moorside project. Toshiba has committed to a 60% equity stake in the project which is estimated, at $6,500/Kw, to be worth at least $20 billion. The firm has, for now, lost the financial ability to fulfill that role. The company said it “will consider” participating in the Moorside new-build project in Cumbria, northwest England, but “without taking on any risk from carrying out actual construction work.” The project owner NuGen, a joint venture between Toshiba and France’s Engie, said it “acknowledges” Toshiba’s announcement that the review of its overseas nuclear business is complete and that it “remains committed” to the “development” of the proposed three-unit Moorside power station. A NuGen representative said the company “had not yet secured an EPC structure to build at the site, but did not intend to utilize Toshiba’s services. It was always NuGen’s plan to identify an independent constructor,” he said. The Financial Times reported that senior ministers in the UK government were “wrangling over how to support” nuclear power plant projects, with some senior Treasury officials “hostile to” direct state subsidy or investment. As for the six AP1000 reactors slated for a site on India’s east coast, aside from the usual contingent memorandum of understanding, no financial commitment was ever made nor did India waive the draconian requirements of its supplier liability law which kept U.S. firms like GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse out of the market. India had explored getting financing for the project from the U.S Export/Import bank, but Congress slammed the lid on its lending authority two years ago in an unrelated dispute over aircraft jobs in the U.S. Toshiba’s troubles are unlikely to significantly impact the four AP1000 reactors being built in China. All four are much closer to completion than their U.S. counterparts. Also, the state owned nuclear firms for which the units are being built are backed by the deep pockets of the central government which has a political stake in seeing the units enter revenue service. (WNN) Horizon Nuclear Power, the UK subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, said it was joining forces with Exelon Generation as Horizon develops its “expertise and capability” to operate a new nuclear power plant at Wylfa Newydd on the Isle of Anglesey. Exelon Generation operates the biggest fleet of nuclear power plants in the USA, with 19,460 megawatts of capacity from 22 units, eight of which are boiling water reactors. The Wylfa Newydd project will deploy two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR). Under the partnership, four Exelon specialists will work alongside Horizon’s growing team, providing expertise in engineering, maintenance, operations and training, Gloucester, England-headquartered Horizon said. The Exelon team will support Horizon’s Safety and Generation Director Greg Evans as Horizon develops its own nuclear operating model. The deployment of the UK ABWR at Wylfa Newydd is seen as paving the way for the wider deployment of the technology in the UK and potentially globally. The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation has said the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) for the UK ABWR is on track to be completed by the end of this year. Horizon has said the GDA is seen worldwide as a ‘gold standard’ in reactor design assessment, enabling further new build projects involving the technology elsewhere.


There are numerous reasons why Toshiba, formerly an enormous and successful Japanese electronics manufacturer, is struggling to survive. One of the lessons available to be learned – once again – is caveat emptor (buyer beware). After a series of purchases and deals that gradually took Toshiba a long way from its core competencies, the company is facing large future losses. It is responsible for completing a massive amount of difficult work with little or no upside potential. It's tempting to look back and point out why those purchases are turning out to have been of dubious quality and grossly unsuited for the buyer. It would be unfair, however, to simply dismiss the series of actions that led to this point as having been completed by an unwary acquirer. With complex purchases, there are numerous parties to the deal. Before going too much farther, it would be appropriate for me to confess that much of what I am about to write has been learned or recognized slowly over time. I would have been a poor source of advice at the beginning of the saga. I thought each of the purchases were pretty good at the time they were made. My level of understanding wasn't any better than that of the people making the deals. The period between about 2003-2008 – just before the world financial crisis and just before the shale gale – was widely labeled as the Nuclear Renaissance. Toshiba, which was mainly a highly profitable, but growth-limited electronics manufacturing business, decided that the time was right to convert some of its cash into a larger share of what looked like a big growth opportunity. The company had some experience and assets in the nuclear equipment supplier business and in the large component manufacturing business. It had participated with GE in the building of a number of operating Japanese power plants and with both Hitachi and GE in the design, certification and initial construction projects for the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). BNFL, a company formerly known as British Nuclear Fuels Limited and fully owned by the U.K. government, was marketing a company called the Westinghouse Electric Company. Though carrying the venerable and deeply respected name of George Westinghouse, the inventor, manufacturer and businessman who founded what turned into one of the greatest industrial enterprises in history, the Westinghouse Electric Company was a only a small sliver of the corporation compared to its peak in the 1970s-1980s. A June 27, 1998 New York Times article described the company that BNFL owned in an article titled CBS to Sell Westinghouse Nuclear Units for $238 Million and Debts. The article begins with the following two paragraphs. That company had few of the capabilities that had made it both a household name and a successful supplier of the underlying design used in about 2/3 of the world's nuclear plants. It no longer manufactured large steam turbines or steam power equipment. It didn't produce Brayton-cycle gas turbines either. It didn't even make pumps and valves anymore since the divisions that handled that work also did a large amount of work for the nuclear Navy and could not be sold off to an entity owned by a foreign government. The Westinghouse that Toshiba purchased was a group of well-compensated, skilled engineers who were quite confident of their abilities to manipulate computer aided design equipment and work their way through regulatory wickets. The company included a large government services arm that was well versed in the competencies required to obtain contracts to service national laboratories and capture matching-funds grants to support a moderate level of advanced reactor design work. There was also a nuclear fuels manufacturing group and a nuclear plant contract services provider. Near the peak exuberance level of the Nuclear Renaissance – Feb 2006 – BNFL was able to give Westinghouse some excellent curb appeal and convince Toshiba to bid $5.4 billion for a unit that BNFL had purchased for $238 million plus assumption of less than $1 billion in debts just 8 years before. Here are the first two paragraphs of a New York Times piece describing that sale. For those who may not recall what was happening in early 2006, there was a large wave of interest in building new nuclear plants in the United States. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 not only provided some significant financial incentives for early movers, it sent a loud signal to people who had never lost interest in the clean, reliable, affordable technology that the U.S. government was going to be supportive instead of obstructive. The language in EPA 2005 directly gave the government "skin in the game" by backing loans and by accepting some financial responsibility for costs that might be imposed as a result of regulatory decisions. That responsibility was limited to $500 million and there wasn't any specific information on how a project owner would go about proving that the cost was imposed by the government, but the number looked big at the time. Combined with rapidly increasing prices of alternatives like natural gas and the increasing demonization of coal, utilities expressed their strong interest in nuclear by starting a couple of dozen projects. In December of 2005, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had issued a design certification for Westinghouse's AP1000, indicating to most people that the company had a refined, Generation III nuclear plant design that was complete and ready to sell. It quickly became the leading contender for a number of the projects in the U.S. and attracted substantial attention in overseas markets. Toshiba executives apparently thought they were buying a winner. They did not fully understand that Westinghouse was a shadow of its former self and that a nuclear plant design that is certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as being safe is not the same thing as a blueprint-level manufacturing and construction design sufficiently detailed to successfully build and assemble a working power plant. Enter Shaw Group With Its Money And Stone & Webster Subsidiary The $5.4 billion that Toshiba agreed to pay for Westinghouse was such a generous amount that it was actually beyond the company's financial capacity. It needed partners to take equity in the project. It initially thought that it would be able to find enough willing partners to purchase 49% of the company, but willing buyers did not line up at the door. The Shaw Group, a recently assembled conglomerate headquartered in the Southeast U.S., was also enthusiastic about the Nuclear Renaissance. It had purchased the Stone & Webster brand at a bankruptcy auction for the long-established construction company that had famously built most of the MIT campus and had completed a number of reasonably successful nuclear plant projects in the U.S. Shaw had renamed the assorted construction company assets that it had acquired over the years as Stone and Webster. It's unclear if any of the skilled tradesmen or project managers that had made Stone and Webster a respected success remained with the subsidiary that the Shaw Group owned. One of the major competencies of the Shaw Group, however, was the financial savvy and fund-raising capabilities of its founder, Jim Bernard. He made a deal with Toshiba to purchase a 20% stake in the company in return for an agreement that his company would be a major supplier and constructor for the first few AP1000 units built in the U.S. That equity purchase was financed with something close to 100% debt that included a balloon payment. Shaw Group, which was a skilled deal-making enterprise, included a provision in the contract that almost guaranteed that Toshiba would purchase that 20% stake in time to pay off the balloon payment. The combination of Toshiba, Westinghouse, Stone & Webster (Shaw Group) was seen as credible enough to attract big utility customers, commercial financing, and even a government loan guarantee for two of the reactors. One of the features of the terms and conditions offered to both Southern Company and SCANA was a sovereign guarantee that Toshiba would cover cost overruns past a seemingly distant – at the time – ceiling. Unfortunately, none of the individual players on any of the teams had actually built anything remotely similar to an AP1000, even though the corporate logos were all very impressive and the deal makers were most likely very polished presenters with fine suits, pressed shirts and carefully knotted silk ties. In the summer of 2012, Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) purchased the Shaw Group, which had booked more than $6 billion in revenue in the prior years and had a diverse portfolio of component suppliers for the oil and gas business along with its nuclear construction arm. In Jan 2013, Toshiba exercised its option and purchased the 20% stake in Westinghouse that Shaw Group held. Soon after CB&I entered the picture, litigation activities increased as the parties involved in the construction project recognized that progress as a percentage of project completion was not being accurately reported. In October 2015, Westinghouse attempted to settle the conflicts by agreeing to purchase the portion of CB&I that was involved in the nuclear plant construction activities. CB&I's statement describing the deal sounds almost like a sign of relief in terms of escaping from a difficult situation and pressing the risk onto a different organization. There are reports that Westinghouse executives, up through and including Danny Roderick, the CEO, pressed hard to get the deal approved. There is an unnamed whistleblower who claims that their desire to settle the conflicts and move forward came through as undue pressure to ignore some of the looming risks that were being accepted by Toshiba as part of the deal. Once again, Toshiba accepted larger risks than it knew about as a result of another purchase.


News Article | February 7, 2017
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

Westinghouse is “unlikely to carry out actual construction work for the future nuclear power plant projects to eliminate risk.” Satoshi Tsunakawa, President and CEO of Toshiba, the Japanese company that owns Westinghouse and its CB&I Stone Webster subsidiary, made that statement during a recent press conference. The event, held on January 27, was called to provide a status report for restructuring actions first announced on December 27, 2016. The restructuring is required as a result of the growing realization that the value of Westinghouse’s CB&I Stone and Webster subsidiary is probably several hundred billion yen (several billion dollars) less than its current book value. Adjusting the company’s stated value with its real value will require taking a write off of “goodwill.” The reduction in goodwill value is based on CB&I’s existing and predicted future liabilities associated with completing four nuclear plant construction projects, two at Plant Vogtle in northeast Georgia and two at the V.C. Summer site in northwest South Carolina. This is an excerpt from the company’s Jan 27 press release. Midori Hara, a spokesperson from Toshiba’s Public Relations office, stated via email that “we are reviewing future of our nuclear power business outside Japan, but nothing has been decided at this time.” During the Jan 27 press conference Mr. Tsunakawa said that the restructuring solution may include a move to separate the “nuclear business from the Energy Systems and Solutions Company, and position it as an organization directly under the control of the President and CEO, as a measure to strengthen risk management. This will allow smoother reporting and decision-making and promote more information sharing, and also support us in our goal of securing stronger management of U.S. nuclear project costs and enhanced governance of Westinghouse.” Hara deferred any comment on the fate of Danny Roderick, President and CEO of Toshiba’s Energy Systems & Solutions Company. Hara’s email also explained the preliminary understanding of root cause of the company’s current financial stress. A reasonable translation of that statement is that Westinghouse determined that disputes about project costs and determining who would pay for them threatened to halt construction. To avoid that situation, Westinghouse purchased the construction company so it could move forward. That put Toshiba – through Westinghouse and CB&I Stone and Webster – on the hook for all project construction costs beyond the agreed contract price. Though there is plenty of blame to go around for the cost overruns, several major regulatory changes have been significant drivers. Some of those decisions are so far in the past that they have been largely forgotten. One of those changes happened more than a decade ago, soon after the contracts were signed for the four AP1000 units currently under construction. The NRC determined that all reactors whose construction had not already started would be required to meet the newly issued Aircraft Impact Rule. That decision, which regulators apparently justified based on a belief that design changes before construction actually starts are cheap, inserted an unexpectedly large uncertainty into the project. The contract terms, pricing and schedule were based on the design that had received NRC certification in May 2006. The design revisions required to meet the Aircraft Rule changes involved at least three more design revisions that did not get final approval until Jan 2012. Completely different construction techniques needed to be invented, tested, litigated and approved. No reasonable and experienced construction estimator would fail to recognize the impact on project costs and schedules resulting from such a major change. Unfortunately, there were apparently few such people involved in the high-level contract negotiations, corporate strategic decisions and in the public communications effort. Though reluctance on the part of utility customers is understandable, the lack of follow-on sales has to be a contributing factor in the reduced value of Toshiba’s Westinghouse subsidiary. It has a dominant and potentially bankable position as the most experienced and certified vendor of large nuclear plants in the U.S., but that position has no stock market value if there is no apparent market for large nuclear plants in the U.S. There are at least three two-unit projects in the U.S. that are nearly ready – with COLs either in hand or close to completion – to begin construction. There is an expensively trained and project hardened workforce ready to begin those projects. If customers maintain their wait and see plan too much longer, the workforce and the supply chains will disappear, making the licensing effort worth far less than what was invested. The Vogtle and Summer projects’ utility company customers, pressured by their public utility commissions and the antinuclear activists who are always ready to point fingers, have held fast to their firm-priced contracts. They have held their suppliers responsible for the delays and cost increases. Not surprisingly, COL holders are reluctant to push too hard in public to convince the NRC to accept its share of responsibility for the delays. COL holders know that they will have to deal with NRC regulators for many decades after the vendors’ work is complete. Pointedly criticizing regulators that have the power to halt operations and revenue generation is a risky path to take. Unfortunately, vendors don’t have a customer base or an adjustable revenue stream that can prevent financial collapse in the event of a large and growing construction project liability. Even a white knight would be challenged in any attempt to resolve disputes and finish the project. Without some immediate efforts to forthrightly explain the reasons that the first new U.S. nuclear plants in more than 30 years have been delayed and cost more than initially agreed upon in early 2006, it appears likely that they will become both the first and last of a kind. There is even a significant possibility that the projects will fail to be completed at all. Parties that are pointing fingers have a hard time operating cranes and welding torches. Maybe Atomic Insights contributors can provide some ideas for the best way to get out of the current situation. Please keep your suggestions within reasonable bounds recognizing the investments that have already been made and the reality of already completed construction phases. The established nuclear industry, the U.S. Government, and the states of Georgia and South Carolina have made a huge investment in the AP1000. To a lesser extent, so have the states of Florida and North Carolina. Will a stubborn desire to press future loss risk oneto others result in a complete loss of that investment? Note: A version of the above was first published at Forbes.com under the same headline. The post Toshiba Likely To Exit Nuclear Plant Construction Business appeared first on Atomic Insights.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

There are numerous reasons why Toshiba, formerly an enormous and successful Japanese electronics manufacturer, is struggling to survive. One of the lessons available to be learned – once again – is caveat emptor (buyer beware). After a series of purchases and deals that gradually took Toshiba a long way from its core competencies, the company is facing large future losses. It is responsible for completing a massive amount of difficult work with little or no upside potential. It’s tempting to look back and point out why those purchases are turning out to have been of dubious quality and grossly unsuited for the buyer. It would be unfair, however, to simply dismiss the series of actions that led to this point as having been completed by an unwary acquirer. With complex purchases, there are numerous parties to the deal. Before going too much farther, it would be appropriate for me to confess that much of what I am about to write has been learned or recognized slowly over time. I would have been a poor source of advice at the beginning of the saga. I thought each of the purchases were pretty good at the time they were made. My level of understanding wasn’t any better than that of the people making the deals. The period between about 2003-2008 – just before the world financial crisis and just before the shale gale – was widely labeled as the Nuclear Renaissance. Toshiba, which was mainly a highly profitable, but growth-limited electronics manufacturing business, decided that the time was right to convert some of its cash into a larger share of what looked like a big growth opportunity. The company had some experience and assets in the nuclear equipment supplier business and in the large component manufacturing business. It had participated with GE in the building of a number of operating Japanese power plants and with both Hitachi and GE in the design, certification and initial construction projects for the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). BNFL, a company formerly known as British Nuclear Fuels Limited and fully owned by the U.K. government, was marketing a company called the Westinghouse Electric Company. Though carrying the venerable and deeply respected name of George Westinghouse, the inventor, manufacturer and businessman who founded what turned into one of the greatest industrial enterprises in history, the Westinghouse Electric Company was a only a small sliver of the corporation compared to its peak in the 1970s-1980s. A June 27, 1998 New York Times article described the company that BNFL owned in an article titled CBS to Sell Westinghouse Nuclear Units for $238 Million and Debts. The article begins with the following two paragraphs. That company had few of the capabilities that had made it both a household name and a successful supplier of the underlying design used in about 2/3 of the world’s nuclear plants. It no longer manufactured large steam turbines or steam power equipment. It didn’t produce Brayton-cycle gas turbines either. It didn’t even make pumps and valves anymore since the divisions that handled that work also did a large amount of work for the nuclear Navy and could not be sold off to an entity owned by a foreign government. The Westinghouse that Toshiba purchased was a group of well-compensated, skilled engineers who were quite confident of their abilities to manipulate computer aided design equipment and work their way through regulatory wickets. The company included a large government services arm that was well versed in the competencies required to obtain contracts to service national laboratories and capture matching-funds grants to support a moderate level of advanced reactor design work. There was also a nuclear fuels manufacturing group and a nuclear plant contract services provider. Near the peak exuberance level of the Nuclear Renaissance – Feb 2006 – BNFL was able to give Westinghouse some excellent curb appeal and convince Toshiba to bid $5.4 billion for a unit that BNFL had purchased for $238 million plus assumption of less than $1 billion in debts just 8 years before. Here are the first two paragraphs of a New York Times piece describing that sale. For those who may not recall what was happening in early 2006, there was a large wave of interest in building new nuclear plants in the United States. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 not only provided some significant financial incentives for early movers, it sent a loud signal to people who had never lost interest in the clean, reliable, affordable technology that the U.S. government was going to be supportive instead of obstructive. The language in EPA 2005 directly gave the government “skin in the game” by backing loans and by accepting some financial responsibility for costs that might be imposed as a result of regulatory decisions. That responsibility was limited to $500 million and there wasn’t any specific information on how a project owner would go about proving that the cost was imposed by the government, but the number looked big at the time. Combined with rapidly increasing prices of alternatives like natural gas and the increasing demonization of coal, utilities expressed their strong interest in nuclear by starting a couple of dozen projects. In December of 2005, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had issued a design certification for Westinghouse’s AP1000, indicating to most people that the company had a refined, Generation III nuclear plant design that was complete and ready to sell. It quickly became the leading contender for a number of the projects in the U.S. and attracted substantial attention in overseas markets. Toshiba executives apparently thought they were buying a winner. They did not fully understand that Westinghouse was a shadow of its former self and that a nuclear plant design that is certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as being safe is not the same thing as a blueprint-level manufacturing and construction design sufficiently detailed to successfully build and assemble a working power plant. The $5.4 billion that Toshiba agreed to pay for Westinghouse was such a generous amount that it was actually beyond the company’s financial capacity. It needed partners to take equity in the project. It initially thought that it would be able to find enough willing partners to purchase 49% of the company, but willing buyers did not line up at the door. The Shaw Group, a recently assembled conglomerate headquartered in the Southeast U.S., was also enthusiastic about the Nuclear Renaissance. It had purchased the Stone & Webster brand at a bankruptcy auction for the long-established construction company that had famously built most of the MIT campus and had completed a number of reasonably successful nuclear plant projects in the U.S. Shaw had renamed the assorted construction company assets that it had acquired over the years as Stone and Webster. It’s unclear if any of the skilled tradesmen or project managers that had made Stone and Webster a respected success remained with the subsidiary that the Shaw Group owned. One of the major competencies of the Shaw Group, however, was the financial savvy and fund-raising capabilities of its founder, Jim Bernard. He made a deal with Toshiba to purchase a 20% stake in the company in return for an agreement that his company would be a major supplier and constructor for the first few AP1000 units built in the U.S. That equity purchase was financed with something close to 100% debt that included a balloon payment. Shaw Group, which was a skilled deal-making enterprise, included a provision in the contract that almost guaranteed that Toshiba would purchase that 20% stake in time to pay off the balloon payment. The combination of Toshiba, Westinghouse, Stone & Webster (Shaw Group) was seen as credible enough to attract big utility customers, commercial financing, and even a government loan guarantee for two of the reactors. One of the features of the terms and conditions offered to both Southern Company and SCANA was a sovereign guarantee that Toshiba would cover cost overruns past a seemingly distant – at the time – ceiling. Unfortunately, none of the individual players on any of the teams had actually built anything remotely similar to an AP1000, even though the corporate logos were all very impressive and the deal makers were most likely very polished presenters with fine suits, pressed shirts and carefully knotted silk ties. In the summer of 2012, Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) purchased the Shaw Group, which had booked more than $6 billion in revenue in the prior years and had a diverse portfolio of component suppliers for the oil and gas business along with its nuclear construction arm. In Jan 2013, Toshiba exercised its option and purchased the 20% stake in Westinghouse that Shaw Group held. Soon after CB&I entered the picture, litigation activities increased as the parties involved in the construction project recognized that progress as a percentage of project completion was not being accurately reported. In October 2015, Westinghouse attempted to settle the conflicts by agreeing to purchase the portion of CB&I that was involved in the nuclear plant construction activities. CB&I’s statement describing the deal sounds almost like a sign of relief in terms of escaping from a difficult situation and pressing the risk onto a different organization. There are reports that Westinghouse executives, up through and including Danny Roderick, the CEO, pressed hard to get the deal approved. There is an unnamed whistleblower who claims that their desire to settle the conflicts and move forward came through as undue pressure to ignore some of the looming risks that were being accepted by Toshiba as part of the deal. Once again, Toshiba accepted larger risks than it knew about as a result of another purchase. Note: A version of the above was first published on Forbes.com at One Toshiba Lesson – Organizations With Venerable Corporate Names Can Be Risky Acquisitions. It is reprinted here with permission. The post One Toshiba Lesson – Organizations With Venerable Corporate Names Can Be Risky Acquisitions appeared first on Atomic Insights.


The present invention is directed to a method for producing, inter alia, olefins from refinery saturated and unsaturated off-gas. Furthermore, said refinery streams are not required to undergo deoxygenation reaction in a separate reactor system provided they are fed to the pyrolysis furnace. The refinery off-gases are treated to produce olefins such as ethylene and propylene. Gases from petrochemical facilities, gas separation plants and similar facilities that produce light gases containing ethane and propane are useful in the present method.


A post fractionation process for removing heavy hydrocarbons from the C_(4)^(+ )olefins conversion process reactor effluent, which act as foulants when recycled to the C_(4)^(+ )olefins conversion reactor. This simple and effective process improves the run length of the reactor by reducing catalyst fouling, which also improves yields in a C_(4)^(+ )olefins conversion process to light olefins. Essential to present invention is the efficient recycling of a hydrocarbon stream to the reactor, utilizing well proven equipment in a novel way to separate more valuable product from less desirable components in the recycle product stream.


The present invention provides an improved fluidized catalytic cracking process coupled with a two stage regeneration process in which the activity of the circulating catalyst is independently controlled for cracking hydrocarbon feedstocks or the vapors at low severity to produce maximum light cycle oil/distillate in one riser whilst cracking recycle streams comprising heavy cycle oil (HCO), light cracked naphtha (LCN) etc. in a second riser operating at high severity to produce LPG.


Patent
Stone and Webster | Date: 2011-01-14

The present disclosure enables phenol recovery, purification and recycle in a simple, economic manner from waste streams from, for example, a phenol/acetone production process, e.g., a phenol/acetone plant or an upstream cumene hydroperoxide cleavage process step, and BPA production step, for use in the reaction with acetone to produce BPA. The disclosure therefore reduces the overall consumption of phenol in the production of BPA.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.forbes.com

Toshiba's chairman, Shigenori Shiga, has accepted the responsibility for his company's financial challenges and operating losses and resigned his position. After some early confusion related to a discussion about its financial statements with its auditors, Toshiba has announced that it will report a loss of 390 billion yen, or $3.4 billion, for the fiscal year that ends in March 2017. The net loss is driven by the determination that Toshiba's Westinghouse subsidiary, which includes its recently purchased CB&I Stone and Webster construction arm, is worth $6.3 billion less than the value it is currently carrying on Toshiba's books. Westinghouse purchased the portion of CB&I involved in nuclear plant construction for $229 million and assumption of liabilities in 2015. The new valuation of the subsidiary includes provisions for some of the already expended costs that are under litigation between Westinghouse and the former owners at CB&I. It also provides for future costs related to the completion of the four Westinghouse AP1000 projects at Plant Vogtle and V.C. Summer. By contract, Toshiba is committed to completing the projects at a cost to customers that has already been established. It is responsible for covering any additional expenditures that will be required in order to complete the projects. Earlier this month, Toshiba had issued a warning that it would be reporting a large writedown, but that warning provided an estimated range of values for the loss that topped out at $6.0 billion. The fact that the reported loss was another $300 million larger than that might account for the initial indications earlier today that Toshiba might be seeking to delay its promised financial statement by another month. Traders were nervous when it appeared that the company was going to request a reporting delay; share prices fell by 9% early in the day in reaction to that possibility. What Will Happen To Danny Roderick? There is no word yet on the fate of Westinghouse's popular CEO, Danny Roderick. There has been speculation that he will be resigning along with Shigenori Shiga. As admirable and inspirational a leader as he has been for Westinghouse and the U.S. nuclear industry, it is probably impossible for him to avoid primary responsibility for the huge losses his company faces. Those losses are directly related to company's decision to press forward and accept a risky settlement in a contentious legal battle over responsibility for project delays. From all reports, Westinghouse accepted the settlement in order to allow it avoid any more costly and distracting time in court and move one to complete a much delayed group of major construction projects. Unfortunately for Toshiba and its shareholders, Westinghouse's settlement with its former partner and customer put the cost burden squarely on Toshiba and doesn't appear to allow it to mitigate the damage by sharing responsibility or passing the added costs to its customers. Neither Westinghouse nor Toshiba appear to have the corporate culture that is traditionally required for success in very large, multinational, multijurisdictional regulated construction projects. There is a huge difference between designing and servicing nuclear reactors and building large concrete and steel structures. I recently had a lengthy, after hours discussion with a man with significant experience in the construction business. He related an old story about a presentation given by the eponymous CEO of a successful company in that line of work. The last slide in the deck described the company's primary core competency, pointing to it as the main explanation for its decades of dominance in the construction industry. "Mine the contract." Westinghouse and Toshiba have apparently decided to fall on the sharp end of a disadvantageous contract instead of mining its provisions to their advantage.


News Article | February 20, 2017
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

Toshiba’s chairman, Shigenori Shiga, has accepted the responsibility for his company’s financial challenges and operating losses and resigned his position as chairman and as a board member. He remains an executive with the company. After some early confusion related to a discussion about its financial statements with its auditors, Toshiba has announced that it will report a loss of 390 billion yen, or $3.4 billion, for the fiscal year that ends in March 2017. The net loss is driven by the determination that Toshiba’s Westinghouse subsidiary, which includes its recently purchased CB&I Stone and Webster construction arm, is worth $6.3 billion less than the value it is currently carrying on Toshiba’s books. Westinghouse purchased the portion of CB&I involved in nuclear plant construction for $229 million and assumption of liabilities in 2015. The new valuation of the subsidiary includes provisions for some of the already expended costs that are under litigation between Westinghouse and the former owners at CB&I. It also provides for future costs related to the completion of the four Westinghouse AP1000 projects at Plant Vogtle and V.C. Summer. By contract, Toshiba is committed to completing the projects at a cost to customers that has already been established. It is responsible for covering any additional expenditures that will be required in order to complete the projects. Earlier this month, Toshiba had issued a warning that it would be reporting a large writedown, but that warning provided an estimated range of values for the loss that topped out at $6.0 billion. The fact that the reported loss was another $300 million larger than that might account for the initial indications earlier today that Toshiba might be seeking to delay its promised financial statement by another month. Traders were nervous when it appeared that the company was going to request a reporting delay; share prices fell by 9% early in the day in reaction to that possibility. Reports indicate that Danny Roderick, Westinghouse’s popular CEO, is being relieved of the additional responsibilities that he recently assumed as the head of Toshiba’s energy unit. Those reports indicate he is being reassigned to focus on improving Westinghouse’s prospects. Presumably, that will include efforts to seek the best possible outcome at Vogtle and Summer. He is an admirable and inspirational leader for Westinghouse and the U.S. nuclear industry, it is impossible for him to avoid primary responsibility for the huge losses his company faces, but there is probably no one else better equipped to dig out of the current hole. The expanding magnitude of the potential losses on the Vogtle and Summer projects are related to company’s decision to press forward and accept a risky settlement in a contentious legal battle over responsibility for project delays. From all reports, Westinghouse accepted the settlement in order to allow it avoid any more costly and distracting time in court and move one to complete a much delayed group of major construction projects. Unfortunately for Toshiba and its shareholders, Westinghouse’s settlement with its former partner and customer put the cost burden squarely on Toshiba and doesn’t appear to allow it to mitigate the damage by sharing responsibility or passing the added costs to its customers. Neither Westinghouse nor Toshiba appear to have the corporate culture that is traditionally required for success in very large, multinational, multi-jurisdictional regulated construction projects. There is a huge difference between designing and servicing nuclear reactors and building large concrete and steel structures. I recently had a lengthy, after hours discussion with a man with significant experience in the construction business. He related an old story about a presentation given by the eponymous CEO of a successful company in that line of work. The last slide in the deck described the company’s primary core competency, pointing to it as the main explanation for its decades of dominance in the construction industry. “Mine the contract.” Westinghouse and Toshiba have apparently decided to fall on the sharp end of a disadvantageous contract instead of mining its provisions to their advantage. My conversation partner also expressed his complete confidence that the projects would be completed. He rested much of his argument on his belief that the Japanese culture would ensure that Toshiba honored its commitment to cover all excessive costs overruns. I’m not as certain of the projects’ prospects. Even the largest companies have a limit to their ability to refuse to admit defeat if costs get too far out of control. Note: A version of the above article was first published at Forbes.com under the headline Toshiba Announces $6.3 B Writedown On A $229 M Construction Company Acquisition The post Toshiba Announces $6.3 B Writedown On A $229 M Construction Company Acquisition appeared first on Atomic Insights.

Loading Stone and Webster collaborators
Loading Stone and Webster collaborators