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Toshiba to end TV production, shrink staff, sell assembly plants overseas

Kyodo

Toshiba Corp. is planning to withdraw from TV manufacturing by selling its factories abroad, a source said Wednesday. It recently came to light that the struggling conglomerate is considering consolidating its loss-making PC and white goods businesses with those of other companies, a source said Wednesday.

Several hundred job cuts are anticipated as a result of drastic streamlining measures affecting Toshiba’s three loss-making businesses: the assembly of TVs, PCs and white goods such as refrigerators and washing machines.

Restructuring efforts are thought to have been impeded by accounting irregularities that surfaced earlier this year, apparently obscuring faltering earnings that had been plaguing these divisions.

Toshiba’s retreat from TV manufacturing highlights the company’s growing focus on nuclear power infrastructure and other business-to-business operations and a shift away from its consumer businesses. It also marks the increasing relapse of Japanese manufacturers in the global home electronics market, losing ground to overseas competition.

Toshiba in 1959 became the first company in Japan to produce a color television. The TV business has since been a centerpiece of its operations, best known in recent years for the Regza series of liquid crystal displays introduced in 2006.

But the division has been bleeding money since 2011 in the face of intensifying competition from South Korean and Chinese manufacturers.

In 2012, Toshiba shut down its domestic TV factories. It currently assembles TVs overseas, including in Indonesia and at a jointly owned operation in Egypt.

The Tokyo-based company is expected to announce by the end of this month plans to sell these facilities to other companies abroad and to pare back its workforce, the source said.

Toshiba controlled 13.4 percent of Japan’s LCD TV market in 2014, the third-biggest after Sharp Corp. and Panasonic Corp., according to research company BCN Inc. Its domestic sales suffered a setback after demand for units geared for terrestrial digital broadcasting ran its course a few years ago.

The Regza brand appears to be up for sale to an overseas manufacturer, the source said, leaving the possibility that the brand may survive and continue to be sold in Japan even after Toshiba’s exit.

Toshiba is considering a plan to merge its PC business with those of Fujitsu Ltd. and Vaio Corp., a former Sony Corp. unit. Its white goods operation may be sold to Sharp under another plan.

In the semiconductor business, Toshiba has already decided to offer early retirement and to transfer jobs to other divisions, affecting around 1,200 workers. Part of the chip operations will be sold to Sony.

Toshiba reported ¥90.49 billion in consolidated operating loss for the semiannual period through Sept. 30, suffering a blow particularly in its home electronics divisions such as its TV, PC and white-goods units.

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission recommended on Monday that the government’s Financial Services Agency assess a record ¥7.37 billion fine for falsifying earnings reports. Accounts in the TV business and elsewhere were manipulated by dubious practices such as overstating or understating costs.

Toshiba and a group of shareholders have filed separate lawsuits against former executives over damages that resulted.

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    ‘Shrink staff’? Are they going to make them midgets? This means lay-offs or a freeze on recruiting. Another (!) great WIN for Abenomics cheap ¥ helping Japanese exporters drive the economic recovery! Am I right?

  • Liars N. Fools

    Another blow to Japanese consumer electronics firms. In this age of virtually no distinction in quality of top brands, price and features have dented the Japanese firms hard. The Korean firms are up for now, but they have to worry about Chinese counterparts.

    In the case of Toshiba, the governance shenanigans hardly helped its prospects.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Another blow to Japanese consumer electronics firms. In this age of virtually no distinction in quality of top brands, price and features have dented the Japanese firms hard. The Korean firms are up for now, but they have to worry about Chinese counterparts.

    In the case of Toshiba, the governance shenanigans hardly helped its prospects.