* Hitachi made best offer, looks set to win -source
* Expected to finalise, announce deal on Tuesday -media
By James Topham and Tom Käckenhoff
TOKYO/DUESSELDORF, Germany, Oct 27 Hitachi Ltd
, Japan's largest industrial electronics maker, is close
to buying British nuclear new-build project Horizon, two people
familiar with the matter told Reuters.
"Hitachi has made the best offer and has a good chance to
get Horizon," a source familiar with the matter told Reuters,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
Another person with knowledge of the proceedings also said
Hitachi, which is leading a consortium bidding for the project,
was likely to be the winner.
Japanese media said on Saturday the deal was expected to be
worth more than 50 billion yen ($628.5 million) while analysts
have put the value of Horizon at about 500 million euros ($646.6
Horizon, which plans to build 6 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear
capacity, was put up for sale by its owners, German utilities
E.ON and RWE, in March, as Germany's
decision to pull out of nuclear power hurt their finances.
Hitachi is expected to hold a board meeting on Tuesday to
approve the deal and officially announce it later that day, both
the Asahi daily newspaper and Kyodo newswire reported, citing
sources familiar with the matter.
Hitachi officials were not immediately available to comment.
Officials at E.ON and Horizon declined to comment, while a
RWE spokesman said: "We are in the final stages. We will
probably say more in the coming days."
IN ADVANCED TALKS
On Thursday, a RWE spokeswoman said it was in advanced talks
to sell Horizon, after a German newspaper reported that a
consortium led by Hitachi was the front runner for the
Hitachi, along with Canadian counterparty SNC-Lavalin
, and Westinghouse plus its parent company Toshiba Corp
, have both made bids for Horizon, a source with direct
knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.
In early October, France's Areva dropped out of
the race to buy Horizon after earlier announcing it was bidding
with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding.
E.ON and RWE, which are both the focus of ratings agencies
with debts of about 41 billion euros and 34 billion euros
respectively, each paid about 250 million euros for Horizon's
two nuclear sites, at Oldbury near Bristol and Wylfa on
The two electricity companies have been under pressure since
last year when Germany announced its intention to end nuclear
energy use by 2022.
The British government plans huge growth in its nuclear
industry, with new power stations expected to come on line by
2025 to replace ageing plants, but it has faced various
stumbling blocks, including the Fukushima nuclear crisis
delaying licensing and making projects more costly.
Hitachi, which has two nuclear power joint ventures with
U.S.-based General Electric Co and earns just under 10
percent of revenues from its power systems segment, releases
financial results on Tuesday.