Toshiba has sent shockwaves through the electronics industry, signalling that it’s struggling to stay afloat amid rising losses and the recent bankruptcy of its US nuclear unit.
Offering everything from digital signage to video walls and TVs, Toshiba is an instantly recognisable name in the electronics industry. Despite its diversity, the conglomerate has been unable to rake in the profits that its Korean competitors, Samsung and LG, have enjoyed.
Toshiba’s earnings have been delayed twice as it grapples with billions of dollars in losses at its Westinghouse Electric nuclear power business, but in an unprecedented move, the earnings were released without the approval of Toshiba’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The situation is now dire for Toshiba, with the company warning that its future is under threat. That’s because it just posted an operating loss of 576.3 billion yen (£4.2 billion) for the nine months ending December 31.
Toshiba’s diverse portfolio of businesses should have helped it weather the storm if one business went under, although the losses have spiralled out of control, threatening the entire conglomerate.
Many analysts have been discussing whether Toshiba should be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange, with the company’s stock price having halved since December 2016. Toshiba’s chief executive officer Satoshi Tsunakawa is set to address the media later today with a further update.
In a statement to the AFP, Toshiba notes: “There are events and circumstances that may bring about significant questions about the idea of carrying on as a going concern.”
Despite the warnings, some of Toshiba’s businesses are said to be in good health – with potential suitors lining up to acquire them. One such unit is the firm’s memory chip division; with rumours circling that Foxconn is considering an acquisition bid of $27bn.
Toshiba isn’t the first Japanese electronics giant to have struggled since the global financial turndown. Sharp was acquired by Foxconn back in 2016, after the company reported losses of $4.7 billion in 2012.