$4.6B sale of Westinghouse complete
Local leaders pleased
Caleb HarshbergerEagle Staff Writer
The sale of Westinghouse Electric Co. is complete.
Brookfield Business Partners finalized its $4.6 billion purchase of the Cranberry-based energy company Wednesday, bringing Westinghouse out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The purchase was announced earlier this year.
“The close of this transaction marks an exciting milestone for Westinghouse as we have successfully emerged from Chapter 11, and continue to navigate a significant transformation that positions us for long-term sustainable success,” said José Emeterio Gutiérrez, Westinghouse president and CEO. “With the support of Brookfield, Westinghouse will continue to build on its legacy of leading the nuclear industry. Our focus is on strengthening the business, capitalizing on our global footprint and excelling in client service and innovation.”
Cranberry Township officials said they are pleased that the purchase has been finalized and said it should quell any uncertainty about the future of the company in the area.
“I think it brings stability to their difficult period of time,” said Jerry Andree, township manager. “It’s good news.”
Andree said this is not the first time the township has seen the company change hands, referring to when Toshiba bought Westinghouse in 2006, and that the new owners seem interested in the company’s success.
“The good news is this looks like a great partnership between Brookfield and Westinghouse,” Andree said.
Mark Gordon, Butler County chief of economic development and planning, agreed, saying he expects the new owner to be good for the company and for the area.
“When you look at Brookfield as a company, specifically Brookfield Business Partners, if you look at their principles ... they’re very community-oriented,” he said. “Their first guiding principle, the well-being of their employees ... Their second principle, a good steward of the community with philanthropic endeavors as well as community engagement.”
Gordon said the company emphasizes environmental responsibility and high standards of corporate governance, something he believes is good to see in the nuclear energy industry.
They also have the international assets to maximize Westinghouse’s ability to succeed.
“One of the things I believe they bring to the Westinghouse team is they have about $285 billion of assets that they have around the globe” Gordon said. “I think it’s an excellent partnership.”
Financial markets also liked the move, he said. Brookfield stocks were up 66 cents, to $40.27 per share, on the New York Stock Exchange as of 4 p.m. Thursday.
“I believe they’ll be an excellent neighbor,” Gordon said. “I believe they’ll be a good steward and bring stability.”
Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March of last year after the cancellation of the South Carolina V.C. Summer Nuclear Station project and significant cost overruns on a similar project in Georgia. The company announced earlier this year that it would be acquired by Brookfield.
“We are pleased to have completed this acquisition, which diversifies our business into global infrastructure services,” said Cyrus Madon, CEO of Brookfield Business Partners. “We look forward to bringing our expertise and support to position Westinghouse for continued success as a leader in its field. We see strong prospects for the business, leveraging the deep knowledge and experience of its employees to drive excellence in client service and innovation.”
Westinghouse employs around 2,200 people in Cranberry Township and about 3,400 in Western Pennsylvania. Worldwide the company employs about 10,000 people.
The acquisition includes all global business of Westinghouse as well as its affiliated debtors and debtors-in-possession. Brookfield would also take ownership of certain pension, environmental and other operating obligations, according to the reorganization plan courts approved in March.