Toshiba delays earnings and writedown report, fuelling fears of crisis

Calvin SaundersFeb 15, 2017

Toshiba also announced that chairman Shigenori Shiga will step down.

When the company announced in December it had to announce a one-off loss relating to its nuclear arm, the shares lost about 45 per cent of their value.

Toshiba is rumoured to have approached Korea Electric Power as a potential buyer for its stake in NuGen, according to the Nikkei business paper. The company has been trying to deal with huge cost overruns at its at nuclear plants in Georgia and SC.

Earlier reports said Toshiba - one of Japan's best-known firms and a cornerstone of its post-war industrial rise - was likely to log a net loss of more than $4.0 billion in the April-December period. It said a law firm hired by Toshiba had interviewed those involved in the issue and found inconsistencies in their stories.

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Instead, Toshiba's expected withdrawal from the United Kingdom nuclear power market would leave a gaping hole in the British government's nuclear strategy, said Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary. Company executives will hold a press briefing later in the day. "We can assume that the company is not delaying its earnings release for good news".

Toshiba has already confirmed it will halt expansion of its United States nuclear business, but will reportedly complete its two reactors that are now under construction in Georgia and SC.

"Uncertainty looms over how a Toshiba writedown related to its Westinghouse subsidiary may affect the fixed-price contract Scana signed to guarantee completion of its new Westinghouse nuclear units", Stacy Nemeroff, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in a research note Tuesday.

Toshiba's chip business, predominantly the manufacturing of NAND flash memory for Western Digital and others, is one of the few profitable businesses in Toshiba's portfolio.

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In December, company officials said they would declare "several billion US dollars" in write-downs at the nuclear unit.

Toshiba said it would meet its "social responsibilities" in Japan by assisting with the restart of idled nuclear power plants, maintenance operations and reactor decommissioning. This deployment is running 2-3 years late, which may be part of why Toshiba is taking such heavy losses.

Construction of the new reactors is expected to create thousands of jobs over the next decade, with many contracts expected to go to United Kingdom firms.

It can't raise money on the stock exchange due to the exposure of accounting irregularities past year.

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Toshiba's already on shaky ground with regulatory agencies due to a previous accounting scandal, so its options are severely limited. Toshiba's family silver, a business that raked in operating profit of 110 billion yen ($962 million) in fiscal 2015, may come off the consolidated balance sheet.

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