Toshiba Corp (TOSBF) filed a twice-delayed third quarter earnings report Tuesday despite having failed to gain a sign-off from its auditors and warned that its financial future may be in doubt.
Toshiba's auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata, told the company that it cannot determine whether Toshiba will need to take additional impairment charges until it has had time to review the results of an independent investigation into an October 2015 acquisition made by its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year.
Nonetheless, Toshiba released its financial results for the nine months ending in December, which showed a ¥532.5 billion ($4.7 billion) loss, pushing it into a negative equity position of ¥225 billion, according to figures published Tuesday.
Toshiba also said that the Westinghouse losses, its credit rating downgrade from December 2016 and the potential loss of a "Special Construction Business License" from the Japanese government "raise substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."
The late filing has exposed Toshiba to the risk of being de-listed by the Tokyo Stock Exchange, but further pressures could also stem from debt guarantees held by Westinghouse that could cost the group another ¥650 billion, the company said. That could mean that the full year loss for Toshiba may top the ¥1 trillion threshold, according to management forecasts. The company said it expects to publish its full year results by the middle of May.
If Toshiba is ultimately kicked out of the exchange system, it could complicate the group's plans to sell its flash memory business, its most valuable asset and its surest lifeline back into financial security. Toshbia won approval for the sale on March 30 and several suitors, including Taiwman's Foxconn -- also known as Hon Hai Precision (HNHPF) -- lined up to pay as much as $27 billion for the semi-conductor division.
A further complication, however, could come in the form of government interference, with investors concerned that a comment from Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko, who hinted at the sector's importance to the world's third-largest economy, could signal a preference to sell the memory business to a domestic Japanese buyer.
Several companies have been linked to the sale of the memory business, including Apple (AAPL) - Get Reportand Broadcom (AVGO) - Get Report, with the latter reportedly having teamed with private equity firm Silver Lake for a $17.9 billion bid. Other names associated with the sale include Western Digital (WDC) - Get Report ,Micron (MU) - Get Reportand Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) - Get Report.