Toshiba casts doubt on its own survival

April 11, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Toshiba Corp., the Japanese conglomerate that has struggled since accounting irregularities were discovered in its finances in 2015, has now warned that company debts could be called in and there is substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.

The latest problem to hit the company is that its accountancy services supplier has refused to sign-off on its accounts for the third quarter fiscal year 2016 and has also called into question accounts for the first and second fiscal quarters of 2016.

Meanwhile Toshiba is in turmoil over huge losses at nuclear power subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Company, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Large write downs will weigh on accounts that are now uncertain and may have caused Toshiba to break terms and conditions on loans in the past, the company said.

In a statement Toshiba acknowledged that PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata LLC has been unable to complete its review. Because the results were already overdue Toshiba decided to issue the accounts without them being fully audited.

In these accounts Toshiba reported a net loss of 673.1 billion yen (about 6.4 billion) on sales revenue of 1,267.9 billion yen (about $11.55 billion). The company also warned that because of losses on loans called in, the full fiscal year's loss could potentially amount to 1,010 billion yen (about $9.21 billion) compared to the 390 billion yen (about $3.55 billion) that Toshiba had advised as recently as February 14, 2017.

The huge problems within the company obscure the fact other divisions performed profitably with the exception of the division labeled Others.

It now seems increasingly likely that Toshiba's semiconductor business will be sold off to the highest bidder. There have been reports that for reasons of national security the Japanese government would favor a purchaser from the US rather than one from Taiwan or China. TSMC is reported to have already withdrawn a bid.

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