Private equity groups eye Westinghouse

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A number of private equity groups have expressed interest in acquiring Westinghouse, the US arm of BNFL, should the British government formally decide to sell the Pittsburgh-based provider of nuclear technologies.

New York-based buy-out firms Cerberus Capital Management and Blackstone, among others, were considering bids for Westinghouse, according to people familiar with the matter.

A spokesman for Westinghouse on Friday night said he had “no knowledge“ that the British government had decided to sell the unit. BNFL declined to comment.

A sale of Westinghouse would mark the end of the six-year relationship between the company and its British owners. In 1999, BNFL, which is publicly traded, acquired the commercial nuclear power businesses of CBS Corporation, which was renamed the Westinghouse Electric Company.

The fate of Steve Tritch, Westinghouse president and CEO, was unclear on Friday night.

BNFL's turnover was £2.3bn in the full year ended March 31 2004. The company made a loss on ordinary activities before taxation and exceptional items of £303m.

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