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Toshiba delays results again, warns of $8.4 bn net loss

Toshiba execs under fire as loss forecast balloons

Troubled conglomerate Toshiba on Monday said it will delay reporting its annual earnings for the past fiscal year, but warned it is on track to book a net loss of 950 billion yen ($8.4 billion).

The delay comes after one of Japan’s best-known companies twice postponed its nine-month earnings before releasing unaudited results last month.

The delays have stirred fears that the huge conglomerate’s shares could be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Toshiba said it failed to meet the exchange’s deadline for results to be released within 45 days as its auditor is still reviewing them.

The company now faces a deadline for the end of June to file its results with Japan’s finance ministry.

The huge loss warning — largely linked to a bloodletting at Toshiba’s US nuclear division Westinghouse Electric — was slightly better than Toshiba’s previous 1.01 trillion yen net loss estimate announced last month.

At the operating level, Toshiba said it now expects a 270 billion yen profit, reversing a 500 billion yen loss forecast last month, on sales of 4.87 trillion yen, off its 5.49 trillion yen earlier estimate.

Toshiba has struggled to assess the impact of huge writedowns at Westinghouse, which filed for bankruptcy protection in March.

The company said it is probing claims of misconduct by senior managers at Westinghouse Electric and gauging the impact on its finances.

The probe was started after a whistleblower complained that one or more Westinghouse executives exerted “inappropriate pressure” on its accounting.

Toshiba shares have been hammered this year — they have lost more than 40 percent of their value since late December when the firm first warned of multi-billion-dollar losses at Westinghouse.

But the embattled stock rose 4.23 percent to 263.8 yen in Monday afternoon trading.

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

Meanwhile, US-based Western Digital, which jointly run Toshiba’s key plant in Japan, said Sunday its subsidiaries have filed a request for arbitration with the ICC International Court of Arbitration, seeking an injunction preventing Toshiba from selling its prized memory chip business.

The spin off of the business — the world’s number two supplier of memory chips for smartphones and computers — is seen as key for the cash-strapped company to turn itself around.

Western Digital’s chief executive Steve Milligan reportedly said last week that the sale needs his company’s consent while stressing that their cutting-edge technologies would not be leaked to rival countries.

–AFP