The European Commission has cleared Toshiba's proposed acquisition of Westinghouse Electric UK and the BNFL USA Group, both of which are active in the nuclear sector.

In addition to manufacturing servers and desktop and laptop computers, Toshiba supplies facilities to nuclear power plants, including instrumentation and control systems and post-installation services, mainly in Asia.

The company also holds a minority share in the nuclear fuel assembly supplier Global Nuclear Fuels (GNF), which is controlled by General Electric (GE), with Hitachi of Japan also holding a minority stake.

Toshiba is interested in Westinghouse Electric UK and the BNFL USA Group, who are currently part of British Nuclear Fuels, as these companies are active worldwide in all aspects of nuclear power production.

The Commission concluded that, subject to Toshiba’s compliance with a commitment to modify its contractual arrangements with other shareholders in GNF, the proposed transaction would not significantly impede competition in the European Economic Area (EEA).

The Commission found that the proposed transaction would combine two suppliers of nuclear power plants and related products with activities that are to a significant extent complementary, both technologically and geographically. Toshiba is focused on nuclear power plants based on so-called boiling water reactors, mainly in Asia, whilst Westinghouse is active principally in pressurized water reactors.

The European regulator also said that the merged entity would still face competition from a number of suppliers of nuclear products and services after the combination. In particular GE, and French company Areva would continue to be strong competitors to Westinghouse, as they are worldwide players, GE being particularly strong in nuclear power plants, and Areva as a market leader in control systems and nuclear post-installation services in Europe.

In addition, to allay concerns relating to possible effects on potential competition in fuel assembly markets, Toshiba has submitted to the Commission a commitment to modify its contractual arrangements with its partners in GNF, General Electric and Hitachi in order to eliminate the risk that Toshiba could impede competition through the joint venture.

The Commission concluded that, subject to full compliance by Toshiba with the commitment submitted, the proposed operation would not raise competition concerns and would not have any negative impact on European customers or on the safety of energy supply in Europe.