Toshiba Corp. gets sign-off from auditors
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.