Scandal-hit Toshiba set to narrow list of potential buyers of its medical unit Wednesday


Major Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp., mired in an accounting scandal, is expected on Wednesday to narrow down candidates to acquire its medical devices unit, it was learned Monday.

Fujifilm Holdings Corp. and Canon Inc., two of the three bidders that took part in the second round of tender closed last Friday, seem to be promising, sources said.

The acquisition price proposed by the third bidder, a consortium of Japanese camera maker Konica Minolta Inc. and British investment fund Permira, is lower than those offered by Fujifilm and Canon, according to the sources.

The value of the acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems Corp., based in the city of Otawara, Tochigi Prefecture, is expected to reach about ¥700 billion, the sources said.

Toshiba’s financial health is substantially deteriorating due to massive costs related to structural reform measures the company is taking following the accounting fraud.

The company will accelerate its turnaround efforts using the proceeds from the sale of Toshiba Medical Systems.

A condition attached by Toshiba in the tender is that any winning bidder should pay 20 percent of the acquisition price early so that the company can secure funds necessary for settlements and other purposes toward the March 31 end of fiscal 2015, the sources said.

Besides the three bidders, the pair of Japanese trader Mitsui & Co. and U.S. investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. also passed the first round of tender held in late January, but refrained from taking part in the second round.

In fiscal 2015, Toshiba expects to report the worst-ever group net loss of ¥710 billion. Its capital ratio, a gauge for financial health, is expected to dive to a critical level of 2.6 percent at the end of March from 17.1 percent a year before.