Toshiba faced a looming deadline

News Hour:

Toshiba faced a looming deadline on Tuesday to publish a long-overdue earnings report with the loss-hit industrial giant’s shares at risk of being yanked from the Tokyo stock exchange.

One of Japan’s best-known firms, Toshiba may release unaudited nine-month results later in the day, local media said, after missing an original deadline in February and another one in March, reports BSS.

The deadline comes as the cash-strapped firm has put its prized memory chip business up for sale, with media reports saying Taiwan’s Foxconn is offering up to 3.0 trillion yen ($27 billion) for the unit.

Financial regulators gave Toshiba more time to assess the impact of huge losses at its US nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

But it has already warned that annual losses could blow out to 1.01 trillion yen, compared with an earlier projected shortfall of 390 billion yen. Toshiba has until Tuesday to release its April-December results.

If it fails to publish its figures and regulators refuse another extension, the company has eight business days to April 21 to produce its results or face a delisting, the bourse said, in what would be a humiliating development for the once-proud pillar of Japan Inc.

Japanese financial regulators have never approved a third earnings release delay for a listed company. The leading Nikkei business daily and other Japanese media said Tuesday that Toshiba has yet to get its auditor to sign off on its results.

Toshiba has said it needed more time to probe claims of financial misconduct by senior managers at Westinghouse Electric and gauge the impact on its finances.

The probe was started after a whistleblower complained that one or more executives at the US unit exerted “inappropriate pressure” on its accounting.

Toshiba’s auditor reportedly found that the alleged wrongdoing had been going on for longer than previously thought, which could mean revising earlier financial statements.

Toshiba shares have been hammered this year, losing more than half their value since late December when it first warned of multi-billion-dollar losses at Westinghouse. They were trading down more than five percent Tuesday at around 217 yen.

The crisis comes less than two years after Toshiba’s reputation was badly damaged by separate revelations that top company executives had pressured underlings to cover up weak results for years after the 2008 global financial meltdown.

The vast conglomerate — which has about 188,000 employees globally and annual revenue topping 5.6 trillion yen — once touted it’s overseas nuclear business as a future growth driver, filling a hole left after the 2011 Fukushima crisis slammed the brakes on new atomic projects in Japan. But delays and cost overruns have hit Westinghouse’s finances hard.

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