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Embattled Toshiba aims to boost capital with ¥600 billion share issue

AFP-JIJI

Embattled conglomerate Toshiba said Sunday it plans to raise $5.3 billion by issuing new shares, a move aimed at avoiding a humiliating delisting from the Tokyo bourse.

Toshiba’s board decided it will issue 2.28 billion new shares to raise a total of ¥600 billion ($5.3 billion), with financing expected to close on Dec. 5.

The new shares will be allotted to 60 overseas investment funds. Each will be priced at ¥262.8, a 10 percent discount from Friday’s closing price. The number of new shares is roughly half the number of shares currently listed.

“This of course poses a concern of dilution of the value of shares but . . . we believe this measure will enable us to clear obligations and focus on core business, which will ultimately contribute to the value of shares,” a Toshiba spokeswoman said.

The company is on the ropes after its disastrous acquisition of U.S. nuclear energy firm Westinghouse, which racked up billions of dollars in losses before being placed under bankruptcy protection.

Those losses came to light as the group was still reeling from revelations that top executives had pressured underlings to cover up weak results for years following the 2008 global financial meltdown.

In order to survive and avoid delisting, the cash-strapped group has decided on a multibillion-dollar sale of its prized chip business to a consortium led by Bain Capital.

The chip unit brought in around a quarter of Toshiba’s total annual revenue and is the crown jewel in a vast range of businesses ranging from home appliances to nuclear reactors.

But the sale has been delayed due to legal disputes with a production partner, U.S. chipmaker Western Digital.

The Tokyo-based conglomerate logged a net loss of $436 million for the April-September fiscal first half.

Toshiba said proceeds from the new share issuance will be used for full payment of parent company guarantees related to Westinghouse.

After Toshiba settles its obligations to Westinghouse creditors, it will be able to demand reimbursement from Westinghouse itself.

Toshiba intends to sell the claims against Westinghouse to a third party, which would allow it to focus more on its own rehabilitation.