Toshiba aims to file its twice-delayed business results on Tuesday, even if its auditors don’t fully sign off on the numbers, two people familiar with the matter said, as the Japanese conglomerate seeks to avoid a potential delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Toshiba has failed to file audited earnings for the three months through December with the authorities, as the accountants question the numbers at the company’s U.S. nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse Electric, where massive cost overruns have pushed the Japanese parent company to the brink.
A third deadline looms, but auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Aarata is questioning not only recent results but also probing the books at Westinghouse for the business year through March 2016, said the sources, one with direct knowledge of the matter and one who was briefed on it.
Toshiba and PwC media representatives could not be reached for comment outside business hours.
Westinghouse filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection from creditors two weeks ago, hit by billions of dollars of cost overruns at four nuclear reactors under construction in the Southeastern United States.
Toshiba, a laptops-to-construction behemoth, has said it expects a $9 billion net loss for the business year ended March 2017 due to writedowns at Westinghouse. It is trying to sell most or all of a prized unit that is the world’s second-biggest producer of NAND semiconductor chips.
Even if the company can’t get a full sign-off from PwC, it will file the results and hope the Kanto Local Finance Bureau will accept them as they are, the sources told Reuters. If the authorities reject the filing, Toshiba will have eight days to refile or be stripped of its Tokyo Stock Exchange listing.
“There are various possibilities,” said the person with direct knowledge of the situation. “It’s possible (the auditors) could say the results are appropriate, give limited approval or reserve their opinion.”
Toshiba might get some sympathy from the authorities, as the Financial Services Agency (FSA), which oversees the regional finance bureaus, is becoming frustrated with PwC’s probes of results checked by Toshiba’s previous auditor, Ernst & Young (EY) ShinNihon.
“If Toshiba were restating past year’s earnings, that would be one thing, but Aarata doesn’t have the authority to reject EY’s audit of past years,” a senior FSA official said.
“What do investors want to know? Are they interested in past profit-and-loss statements?” he said. “What they’re concerned about is the current balance sheet.”
Kanto Local Finance Bureau officials could not be reached for comment outside office hours.