Toshiba Corp. gets sign-off from au­di­tors

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Yuri Kageyama

Au­di­tors signed off, be­lat­edly, on Toshiba Corp.’s earn­ings Thurs­day, mean­ing the trou­bled Ja­panese elec­tron­ics and nu­clear com­pany will likely avert delist­ing, for now. But the au­di­tors, Price­Wa­ter­house­Coop­ers Aarata, cau­tioned about re­main­ing risks in a sep­a­rate state­ment.

The ap­proval had not come on sched­ule be­cause of con­cerns about Toshiba’s money-los­ing nu­clear busi­ness in the United States. Toshiba’s U.S. nu­clear unit, West­ing­house Elec­tric Co., filed for bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion in March.

Re­ac­tors that West­ing­house was build­ing there were be­hind sched­ule, partly be­cause of beefed-up safety reg­u­la­tions fol­low­ing the 2011 Fukushima nu­clear dis­as­ter.

West­ing­house’s re­ac­tor projects in South Carolina were aban­doned re­cently af­ter the tow­er­ing costs were weighed.

Toshiba is still mired in le­gal wran­gling with joint ven­ture part­ner Western Digital of the U.S., which is op­pos­ing Toshiba’s at­tempt to sell its com­puter mem­ory chip busi­ness to gain the cash it needs to sur­vive, and has taken le­gal ac­tion.

Thurs­day was the dead­line for the au­di­tors’ ap­proval.

It had re­leased pre­lim­i­nary earn­ings ear­lier, with­out the ap­proval, to stave off delist­ing, though the com­pany was later moved to the Tokyo Stock Ex­change’s sec­ond sec­tion from its first sec­tion.

“Our earn­ings have now been nor­mal­ized,” Toshiba Pres­i­dent Satoshi Tsunakawa told re­porters.

He re­it­er­ated that the com­pany was work­ing hard to re­vive it­self and re­gain value for share­hold­ers. He said no ad­di­tional losses were ex­pected re­lated to its U.S. nu­clear busi­ness, af­ter the bank­ruptcy fil­ing and other set­tle­ments it has reached.

He said Toshiba was still in talks with var­i­ous part­ners on the mem­ory chip sales, while de­clin­ing to com­ment in de­tail on why the agree­ment was be­ing de­layed. He ac­knowl­edged that ma­jor ob­sta­cles re­mained, but stressed he was de­ter­mined to go through with a sale.

Thurs­day’s ap­proval came af­ter a seven-month in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the is­sues raised by the au­di­tors, cen­tered on whether Toshiba had known in ad­vance the sub­se­quent losses that emerged re­lated to West­ing­house’s ac­qui­si­tion of CB&I Stone & Web­ster, a nu­clear con­struc­tion and ser­vices busi­ness.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­cluded wide­spread in­ter­views and check­ing into emails, ac­cord­ing to Toshiba.

Toshiba re­ported an $8.8 bil­lion loss for the fis­cal year end­ing in March. The com­pany also re­ported first-quar­ter earn­ings Thurs­day — a re­turn to profit from April to June ($458 mil­lion) af­ter West­ing­house was re­moved from Toshiba’s books.

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