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Toshiba's survival in doubt amid Westinghouse troubles

12 April, 2017, 02:44 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • “This atomic meltdown is a blessing in disguise” was how a top government official described the unfolding scenario

The Japanese conglomerate said that there was "substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern" after booking huge losses related to Westinghouse, its United States nuclear unit, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. last month. But the Japanese company has warned that dumping Westinghouse could drag it to a net loss of 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) for the fiscal year that ended in March.

Pennsylvania-based Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy protection last month in the United States because of cost overruns and construction delays at nuclear plant projects in Georgia and SC.

Toshiba's inability to report earnings has also raised speculation of a possible delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Shares declined by nearly 2% despite reports that Taiwan's Foxconn may offer $27bn because of its precious memory chip unit, before the earnings statement.

Toshiba's auditor reportedly found that the alleged wrongdoing had been going on for longer than previously thought, which could mean revising earlier financial statements.

Toshiba's shares were placed on a "securities on alert" watchlist by the Tokyo Stock Exchange in September 2015, following a previous accounting scandal, which had initially dented the company's reputation.

The newly released results have not been approved by the firm's auditors.

Kevin Coyne, national officer at Unite the union, said: "The latest news about the very poor financial health of Toshiba raises further concerns about its involvement in the construction of the Moorside nuclear power station in Cumbria".

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The deadline comes as the cash-strapped firm has put its prized memory chip business up for sale, with media reports saying Taiwan's Foxconn is offering up to 3.0 trillion yen ($27 billion) for the unit. Toshiba said in its most recent filing that the full contractual obligation it could face under parent-company guarantees was 650 billion yen ($5.9 billion) and that it could face loan losses of another 176 billion yen.

Toshiba also booked an operating loss of 673.1 billion yen for the quarter, compared with an operating loss of 142.8 billion yen in the same period the year before.

Toshiba was among Japan's most prestigious companies for decades.

"This evaluation process was continuing at the time of the reporting", it said in the statement.

"The decision on any delisting is for the stock exchange to make".

They fell 2.69 percent to finish at 223.5 yen on Tuesday. Toshiba also said it had taken measures to improve its financial condition, including the sale of assets worth about ¥160 billion in FY2016. Apart from its embattled nuclear segment, Toshiba's other operations are healthy, Tsunakawa said.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the government was talking to potential investors.

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