Toshiba averts delisting for now, but future still hangs in balance

Aug 12, 2017, 00:11
Toshiba averts delisting for now, but future still hangs in balance

Toshiba this morning met a deadline to report its long-delayed financial results, saying it lost around US$8.8 billion (RM37.74 billion) in the last fiscal year over its hard-hit U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric. Auditor PriceWaterhouseCoopers Aarata gave a "qualified opinion" on the results and a rare "adverse opinion" on the company's internal controls, Reuters reported, citing a filing.

In its financial results for the three months ended in June, also released on Thursday, Toshiba said its net profit came in at 50.3 billion yen, a drop of 36.9% from a year earlier, and its negative net worth fell to 504 billion yen. The company will be delisted if it reports negative net worth for the second year.

"It's still hard to say that Toshiba has taken a huge step forward", said Masahiko Ishino, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.

The earnings report greatly reduced the chance of an embarrassing delisting of the company from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

A major sticking point has been an inquiry from PwC over whether Toshiba should have recognized multi-billion dollar losses at USA nuclear arm Westinghouse earlier than last December, sources familiar with the matter have said.

Today was the deadline for the auditors' approval. Toshiba said it disagreed.

Following PwC's sign-off, the Tokyo Stock Exchange is now reviewing Toshiba's governance to decide whether the firm can stay listed.

A senior technology analyst said that while Toshiba's immediate delisting risk has decreased following a qualified opinion by its auditor, the probability of Toshiba getting delisted on the basis of negative shareholder equity has not changed at all. The U.S. company filed for bankruptcy protection in March. It was good news for a company confronted with delisting fears and legal battles with Western Digital.

But the company is still on shaky ground as it struggles to sell off its prized memory chip business that is seen as key to its turnaround. "I can't imagine that anybody is going to pay real money for these assets until the legal situation has been made clear", Givens said, warning that the sale process would likely be paralyzed indefinitely as a result.

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