Toshiba warns it may not survive financial problems

Satoshi Tsunakawa, president and CEO of Toshiba Corp., bows at the start of a news conference Tuesday in Tokyo. Toshiba had delayed the release of its quarterly earnings dueand finally released them without approval from their auditors. Photo by Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

April 12 (UPI) — Toshiba Corp., a Japanese electronics and energy conglomerate, warned Tuesday there is “substantial doubt” about its ability to survive financial losses, mainly stemming from losses in its Westinghouse Electric nuclear business.

Toshiba reported unaudited earnings of a $4.8 billion loss from April-December and projected a $9.2 billion loss for the fiscal year that ended in March.

That report, which was delayed for four months, was filed without the approval of its auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata, who refused to sign off on the earnings report because it is studying Westinghouse’s takeover of nuclear construction company CB&I Stone & Webster in 2015, Toshiba said Tuesday. Toshiba acquired Westinghouse for $5.4 billion in 2006.

“Toshiba has done everything in its power to gain the understanding of the auditors,” Chief Executive Officer Satoshi Tsunakawa said at a briefing with reporters in Tokyo. “Without clear prospects for auditor approval, we could no longer inconvenience and worry our investors and other stakeholders and decided on this very unusual way of releasing results.”

If Japanese regulators don’t accept Toshiba’s earnings report, Toshiba could be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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 South Carolina.

The company says Westinghouse likely won’t have any financial impact beyond fiscal year 2016 because it can remove the nuclear firm from its account.

Toshiba’s majority stake in Westinghouse will be sold under the supervision of the bankruptcy court “and we will not be involved in that,” Tsunakawa told reporters last month.

Toshiba also is dealing with decommissioning the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which had multiple meltdowns after the March 2011 tsunami in northeastern Japan. Also, there are subsequent concerns of nuclear safety worldwide and the growing appeal of natural gas.

Toshiba is attempting to sell a majority stake in its computer chip business. Taiwan-based Foxconn, one of Apple’s biggest suppliers, has offered up to $27 billion, Bloomberg reported. Other suitors are Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc. and chipmaker Broadcom Ltd. with offers of $18 billion or more.

Toshiba also has sought additional financial support from banks with stock holdings and real estate as collateral.

“Toshiba could move back into solvency depending on how it proceeds with the Toshiba Memory sale,” Credit Suisse Group AG’s Tokyo-based analysts Hideyuki Maekawa and Yoshiyasu Takemura wrote in a report obtained by Bloomberg. “We think the only major risk remaining is a possible delisting.”

In February, Toshiba Chairman Shigenori Shiga stepped down from the board but will remain as a Toshiba executive until a shareholder meeting in June.

Toshiba was founded in 1875 as Japan’s first manufacturer of telegraph equipment, according to the company website. Worldwide it has 187,809 employees and annual sales of $55 billion through March 2016.


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