Toshiba delays earnings and writedown report, fuelling fears of crisis

Reports that month that Toshiba had been slow to disclose past Westinghouse-related losses forced the company to call a hastily arranged news conference to respond. The company said it may have to book several billion dollars in charges related to a USA nuclear power plant construction company acquisition, rekindling "concerns about its accounting acumen". The Guardian reported that the company's shares swiftly fell by 8 percent in Tokyo after Shiga's resignation from the board.

That's when things went from bad to worse: The company's chairman, Shigenori Shiga, announced he was taking responsibility for the company's woes and would step down Wednesday.

The delay on a full update comes as it investigates the amount its Westinghouse subsidiary paid for USA construction and nuclear plant specialist CB&I Stone & Webster in 2015.

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As a result of the losses, shareholder equity will drop to negative 150 billion yen for the current year ending next month, Toshiba said.

Auditors questioned the company's reporting on the acquisition of CB&I Stone & Webster. Toshiba paid $5.4 billion for the company in 2006 and an additional $1.6 billion in 2013.

The company confirmed reports that it would stop building nuclear power plants and focus on selling reactor designs as well as nuclear services.

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It is extraordinary for a major company like Toshiba, which is regarded as one of Japan's representative firms, to announce a delay just before a scheduled announcement.

United Kingdom trade association Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) welcomed Toshiba's renewed commitment to the Moorside project, in West Cumbria.

The delay follows growing expectations that the charge for the writedown in its United States nuclear business could be as high as 700 billion yen ($6.2bn) - enough to wipe out the group's shareholder equity and send Toshiba's net worth into the red. Stricter safety standards after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan added to the cost of plants in China and the U.S. It wasn't. Over the last decade, Westinghouse has cost Toshiba tons of money, due to what The New York Times calls "years of flawed business decisions". This unfortunate turn of events is slowly becoming more and more evident after a series of announcements from the company's bigwigs.

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The company also predicts an operating loss of 410 billion yen, although it forecast an operating profit of 180 billion yen three months ago.