Friday, April 04, 2008

Call Your Brokers

Of course, we cannot truly recommend stocks in any company, nuclear or otherwise, since, first, doing so would fall into sketchy ethical waters and, second, we're at best ninnies at understanding the stock market and its movements - not that large careers haven't been made on Wall Street regardless.

However, following the money when it comes to companies investing in nuclear energy and its infrastructure seems to be paying dividends lately. Here is Bloomberg reporting on Toshiba's stock rise:

Toshiba Corp., Japan's largest supplier of reactors and chips, rose to the highest in more than a month in Tokyo trading after saying it's in talks with two U.S. utilities to build nuclear power stations.

[...]

Toshiba is headed for the biggest two-day gain since July 2003 on news it's negotiating the multibillion-dollar reactor deal with Scana Corp. and Southern Co. The shares rose 7 percent yesterday after Hynix Semiconductor Inc. said it will delay production of flash-memory chips, easing oversupply fears.

And here is the Times of London on British Energy:

Shares in British Energy climbed more than 6 per cent on Friday in expectation of a £9 billion bid for the nuclear generator from EDF, the French electricity giant which is Europe's biggest energy company.

Hard to say if this is even such good news since investors find peculiar reasons to punish as well as reward companies, but at the very least, it suggests that nuclear energy isn't frightening investors and, as a bonus, adds another quiver to the bow when the anti-nuke mob grumps about the cost of building new plants.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Guys, I am not so sure that I am thrilled that an non-American company is doing so well. Oh, it's Free Enterprise and all that, but Toshiba's ascendency with its acquisition of Westinghouse (AP1000) and of the ABWR (from GE) leaves the playing field with foreign supplies of new nuclear power plants. Even GE is teamed with the Japanese Hitachi for the ESBWR. And the Japanese Mitshubishi is supplying the APWR and the French Areva the EPR. I feel good about new nukes, but not about the fact that WE in the United States have lost so much of our nuclear expertise.

Anonymous said...

Westinghouse is just owned by Toshiba. All of the design work on AP1000 was done in the US. The parent company plans on expanding Westinghouse's business in the US, not shutting it down. AP1000 is a domestic technology.

David Phillips said...

It's great news that EDF Energy is being seriously considered as one of the candidates to take over British Energy. They have experience of the UK market throught their ownership of London Electricity and they have made a public commitment some time ago that if the UK government gave the green light, they would be serious investors. And time is running out, with our yawning energy gap and desire to become energy independent, not to mention the need to build low carbon sources of electricity.

Anonymous said...

It is a global marketplace, especially for nuclear technology. While having an American company as "national champion" has some emotional appeal, it is not critical to successful deployment of new nukes in the US.

Besides, there is a lot of work to do and much of that will be done in the US by US engineers.

Even GE Nuclear prided itself on being a global sourcing company. Their Lungmen ABWRs had vessels from Japan, pumps from Scotland and Germany and Japan, ASME pipes from the US, control panels from Canada, etc, etc. Was the uranium to be dug from Russian soil?

Why has the US business community lost interest over the years in nuclear power? The answer is low profit margins. American business flocks to profits, as it should. One can argue about planning time horizons and the evil of quarterly profit discipline but if profit opportunities exist, Americans will pursue them. Toshiba is seeing the rewards of its long standing commitment to and investments in nuclear. It doesn't really matter where the company you work for is based so long as they are ethical and deliver.

Joe Somsel