Toshiba executives under fire as loss forecast balloons


TOKYO: Angry investors lambasted Toshiba executives at a shareholder meeting on Thursday after it warned annual losses could balloon to more than $9 billion but they agreed to the sale of its memory chip business, the jewel in the Japanese giant’s crown.

The heated meeting held just outside Tokyo comes a day after the huge conglomerate said its troubled US nuclear power unit Westinghouse Electric had filed for bankruptcy protection.

Toshiba, one of the pillars of corporate Japan, also warned on Wednesday its annual losses, mainly tied to Westinghouse, could blow out to 1.01 trillion yen ($9.07 billion), compared with an earlier projected shortfall of 390 billion yen.

That would be a record annual loss for a Japanese manufacturer, according to Bloomberg.

Toshiba has delayed formally reporting its earnings over the problems at Westinghouse, which it bought for more than $5 billion a decade ago.

Among the issues, Toshiba has said it is probing whistleblower allegations of accounting misconduct by senior Westinghouse executives.

Thursday’s meeting was held to get shareholder approval to spinoff Toshiba’s prized memory chip business, seen as key for the cashstrapped company to turn itself around. The motion was approved. Toshiba is the world’s number two supplier of memory chips for smartphones and computers.