Results could spell the end for Toshiba

12 April 2017

Toshiba president Satoshi Tsunakawa

Toshiba president Satoshi Tsunakawa

Japanese electronics-to-construction giant Toshiba has released unaudited results, reporting a huge JPY532 billion (US$4.8 billion) loss between April and December 2016.

In an accompanying statement, the 79-year-old firm admitted, “There are material events and conditions that raise substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern.”

The results were delayed twice, as Tohsiba’s auditors, PriceWaterhouseCooper Aarata, refused to sign off the company’s accounts. Toshiba’s president, Satoshi Tsunakawa, said the decision of the auditors was “truly regrettable”, and he hoped the company would not be delisted as a result.

The firm’s current disastrous situation is largely due to the financial woes of its US-based nuclear arm, Westinghouse, which it bought in 2006.

Following the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in 2011, some countries decided to move away from nuclear power completely, while others sought expensive safety measures.

As a result, Westinghouse’s financial situation deteriorated, ending with the firm filing for bankruptcy protection in March last year.

In December 2016, it became clear that Westinghouse was set to lose around US$4.3 billion; news that caused Toshiba’s share price to fall by more than 40%.

There is some hope that Toshiba might survive its current crisis, following this week’s offer from Taiwanese firm Foxconn, to buy Toshiba’s computer chip business for around US$27 billion.

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