‘Make decision by end-March’
Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric Co LLC unit needs to decide by the end of the month whether to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy so the Japanese conglomerate can compile audited third-quarter earnings without further delays, said Japan’s finance minister yesterday.
Toshiba has a Monday deadline to publish the earnings after postponing their release a month ago so that it could probe potential problems at Westinghouse further.
If it misses that date, it has eight working days to March 27 to file the report or face a possible delisting from the Tokyo bourse.
“On the United States side, they have to decide about (whether to file for) Chapter 11 quickly and until they do that, it seems it is difficult for them to file their earnings,” said Finance Minister Taro Aso yesterday.
People familiar with the matter have said Westinghouse, which has been hit by huge cost overruns at two US projects, had brought in law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP as an exploratory step, but had not yet taken a decision on a bankruptcy filing.
Aso’s decision to weigh in on Toshiba’s troubles adds government pressure on the company to act swiftly to resolve its financial problems.
The likelihood of Toshiba meeting its Monday deadline was “fifty-fifty” as Westinghouse auditors and lawyers were fussing over details, said a source.