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Toshiba in Talks to Sell Stake in Westinghouse: Report

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Japan's Toshiba is in talks with three parties, including U.S. engineering firm Chicago Bridge and Iron Co., to sell a portion of its stake in its nuclear power unit Westinghouse, according to media reports.

Toshiba CEO Norio Sasaki told Dow Jones Newswires in a interview on Thursday that the firm is in discussions to sell up to a 16 percent stake in Westinghouse, in which the Japanese company currently owns a 67 percent stake.

While the Japanese company is in talks with firms including Chicago Bridge and Iron on selling part of its Westinghouse stake, it intends to retain its place as the reactor builder's controlling shareholder, a Toshiba spokesman said, adding that nothing has been decided yet.

Toshiba is also set to buy back 20 percent of Westinghouse from Louisiana-based Shaw Group by January, bringing its total holdings to 87 percent, which analysts say is a burden on the Japanese firm.

Dow Jones said Toshiba has received proposals from two other firms to buy the 20 percent stake, citing Sasaki, including companies outside the U.S.

Chicago Bridge and Iron, which has agreed to acquire rival nuclear firm Shaw, is in the leading position to buy a stake in Westinghouse, Japanese wire service Jiji reported, without stating the size of the share.

Shares in Toshiba ended up 3.2 percent at 321 yen on Thursday, compared to a 0.9 percent rise on Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei average.

Shaw partnered with Toshiba and Japanese engineer IHI Corp. to buy Westinghouse from British Nuclear Fuels PLC for $5.4 billion in 2006. Toshiba later trimmed its stake to 67 percent after selling part of it to Kazakhstan's state-owned nuclear power company Kazatomprom.

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