Toshiba says major United States nuclear business losses forced change

Toshiba Corp.'s chairman resigned Tuesday after the company logged such massive losses in its nuclear business that it must sell its lucrative computer-chip business to avoid going belly-up.

The expected loss is linked to problems with the value placed on a deal involving the purchase of a nuclear services company by Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse Electric.

Toshiba is rumoured to have approached Korea Electric Power as a potential buyer for its stake in NuGen, according to the Nikkei business paper.

In a section entitled "outlook for the project", Toshiba said that it "will consider participating in the project without taking on any risk from carrying out actual construction work".

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"We have become increasingly reliant on the decisions of foreign companies whose interests lie with their owners and not British consumers", she said.

The Financial Times reported yesterday that senior ministers in the United Kingdom government were "wrangling over how to support" nuclear power plant projects, with some senior Treasury officials "hostile to" direct state subsidy. It had learned that controls at Westinghouse had been "insufficient" and that the company had used "inappropriate pressure" to make the acquisition.

However, the company released preliminary results on an unaudited basis. "The market speculates that Toshiba will be releasing figures worse than what is being reported already".

But Toshiba has now published a provisional outlook report for its third quarter, which outlines the status of major projects in its overseas nuclear power business including in Cumbria.

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Toshiba has been struggling with its nuclear business as demands for nuclear power plants have slowed since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The company said it may have to book several billion dollars in charges related to a US nuclear power plant construction company acquisition, rekindling "concerns about its accounting acumen". Less than a decade ago the company was worth five times more.

It plans to spin off its lucrative flash memory business.

This news crushed its turnaround plan after a previous accounting scandal revealed in 2015, and claimed the jobs of the company's then CEO. Toshiba's family silver, a business that raked in operating profit of 110 billion yen ($962 million) in fiscal 2015, may come off the consolidated balance sheet.

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