Toshiba (TOSBF) stock fell in Tokyo Friday as investors braced for a possible fire sale of assets that risks cannibalizing the embattled company's future earnings capacity.
The Tokyo-based conglomerate dumped its remaining stake in Toshiba Machines, a minority investment, raising $134 million. The sale come as Reuters reports the company has called in bankers from UBS (UBS) - Get Report to explore sale options for its "smart metering" business that generate a further $2 billion.
Friday's news comes on top of an earlier decision by the company to place a portion of its core memory, worth between $9 billion to $10 billion, up for sale.
The electronics giant has been engulfed in scandal in recent months after operational problems at its U.S. nuclear business, as well as accounting irregularities, led the company to delay the release of its financial statements for the full-year of 2016.
It is now reported to be considering pushing Westinghouse into bankruptcy and flogging assets in order to strengthen its beleaguered balance sheet.
Toshiba shares closed 1.8% lower, at ¥213.3, in Tokyo, bringing 2017 losses close to 25%.
While it is yet to release its audited results, Toshiba has said that it will be taking a ¥712 billion ($6.2 billion) impairment on the value of its nuclear business, which is likely to push the company to a ¥390 billion loss.
The cumulative value of write downs that Toshiba has taken over the last two years or more has now all but wiped out the value of shareholders equity in the business.
But the tab could rise further before results are published, thanks to an ongoing investigation into the the pricing of an acquisition in the U.S.
Westinghouse, which Toshiba bought for $5.4 billion in 2006, overpaid to acquire a contractor that was working on several nuclear plants for it and now faces having to write down its investment -- as well as a wave of costs relating to projects that are badly behind schedule and over budget.
It is the Westinghouse acquisition of CB&I Stone & Webster assets that caused Toshiba to delay publishing its financial statements. The company has hired lawyers to investigate whether there was any wrongdoing on the part of Westinghouse management during the acquisition.
Toshiba bet on nuclear power and bought Westinghouse originally as part of an effort to diversify away from its volatile and evolving electronics business. But since the acquisition, Westinghouse has done little but create problems for the Japanese tech giant after the Fukushima nuclear disaster dented Japan's appetite for nuclear fuel and a key new nuclear reactor proved difficult to implement and failed to gain traction.