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Toshiba submits unaudited results, raises questions about ability to survive as a company

by

Staff Writer

Embattled Toshiba Corp. said Tuesday its grave financial situation puts it at risk of not being able to survive as a company.

The reference was made in the earnings report for the April-December period of 2016 that Toshiba submitted the same day without approval from its auditing firm. The troubled company made the unusual move in a desperate bid to avoid postponing it for the third time amid the debacle tied to Westinghouse Electric Co. that has caused it hundreds of billions of yen in losses.

Toshiba admitted that the massive losses are creating “substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

For instance, the firm said it holds a special construction license needed for its energy and social infrastructure businesses. But current regulations require companies with such licenses to be financially stable.

According to the report, Toshiba had a negative net worth of 225.7 billion yen at the end of December 2016.

The company has to renew the permit by the end of December. But if it fails to “meet the criteria and to renew the license, there will be an extremely negative impact on its business execution,” Toshiba said, as it managed to file its earnings report at the 11th hour.

However, it is extremely rare for companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section to turn in an earnings report without a nod from auditors, according to the TSE.

Toshiba submitted the financial statement for the April-December period to the Kanto Local Finance Bureau without approval from auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata LLC. Toshiba reported a group net loss of ¥532.5 billion due to losses related to its U.S. nuclear business.

The auditor released a statement saying it was still reviewing whether Toshiba provided credible figures for the losses by Westinghouse.

As of Tuesday, “we are still unable to finish the evaluation of Toshiba’s final investigation (on this matter). As a result, we could not decide if Toshiba’s earnings report needs to be altered,” the auditor said.

Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa held a news conference in the evening to explain the move.

“It is very regrettable that we’ve come to this,” he said, adding that Toshiba has not found any evidence from its investigation into Westinghouse that would require changing the figures in the earnings report.

“Even if we requested to postpone the filing of the quarterly results again, it would still be unclear when we could get approval from the auditor. We cannot cause more troubles and worry to our shareholders, investors and other stakeholders, so we know that this is highly unusual,” he said.

Toshiba delayed its earnings announcement for the second time in March, saying it needed more time to investigate claims that executives at its troubled U.S. nuclear unit pressured subordinates to understate losses related to nuclear plant construction.

Missing Tuesday’s deadline and failing to file the results after eight business days would have seen the Tokyo-based electronics conglomerate delisted from the TSE.

However, it still risks being delisted, with its shares previously designated “securities on alert” due to a profit-padding accounting scandal in 2015.