Toshiba Corp (TOSYY) were marked lower again in Tokyo Tuesday amid speculation the troubled conglomerate would file its delayed third quarter earnings report without a sign-off from its auditors.
Toshiba shares ended the session 2.7% lower at ¥223 each, hit in part by a firmer yen, a broader market decline and a report from Reuters that suggested the twice-delayed report could be submitted today, even without auditors' approval, a move that could push the Tokyo Stock Exchange into de-listing the struggling group.
Toshiba's auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata LLC, are said to be concerned about accounting irregularities within Toshiba and also in the group's former U.S. nuclear division, Westinghouse, which filed for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year amid a masssive $6.2 billion goodwill writedown linked to cost overruns.
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.