Toshiba Posts Net loss, Plans Restructuring to Put Scandal Behind It

By Reuters
September 07,2015
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A man walks past a logo of Toshiba Corp at an electronics store in Tokyo July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Files

By Ritsuko Ando and Makiko Yamazaki

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Toshiba Corp booked a net loss for the past financial year and pledged a bold restructuring, raising hopes it was finally moving beyond a $1.3 billion accounting scandal.

The submission of its books, twice postponed due to its accounting woes, helped to allay concerns among some investors that the laptops-to-nuclear power conglomerate risked a delisting if it had missed its latest filing deadline.

Shares in Toshiba rose 1.8 percent on Monday, but they are still down around 30 percent since its accounting issues were disclosed in early April. Analysts, however, said the company still had to tackle deep-rooted problems.

"Toshiba is still facing a number of daunting issues, such as what to do with its unprofitable PC and TV businesses," said Hiroyasu Nishikawa, a senior analyst at IwaiCosmo Securities Co, adding that its accounting woes were set to drag on due to shareholder lawsuits.

For the past financial year, it reported a 37.8 billion yen ($318 million) net loss. It had at one time expected a 120 billion yen net profit before pulling that estimate in May when it announced the accounting probe was being expanded.

The weaker assessment included a more conservative estimate on the value of its investment in South Texas Project, a U.S. power plant project. The company, however, denied speculation that it would need to draw down deferred tax assets on Westinghouse, its U.S.-based nuclear business.

All in all, Toshiba said it had overstated profits going back to fiscal 2008/09 by 155 billion yen ($1.3 billion).

The accounting probe found in July that Toshiba suffered from dysfunctions in governance and a culture of discouraging employees from questioning their superiors, prompting previous CEO Hisao Tanaka and several other board members to step down.

The company's new Chief Executive, Masashi Muromachi, promised on Monday to announce a restructuring plan for its semiconductor, PC and TV businesses by the year-end. He also said it was reconsidering plans by his predecessor, who stepped down amid the scandal in July, to grow the healthcare unit through acquisitions.

The company also announced on Monday that former Shiseido president Shinzo Maeda would be the head of a revamped 11-member board, the majority of which are external directors, pending approval at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting on Sept. 30.

The accounting scandal is Japan's biggest since 2011 when camera and medical device maker Olympus Corp was found to have been involved in a $1.7 billion scheme to conceal two decades of investment losses.

($1 = 118.8300 yen)

 

(Additional reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Yoshiyuki Osada; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Muralikumar Anantharaman)