Thursday, 30 March 2017

Toshiba told it is a 'laughing stock' at angry investor meeting



Toshiba investors have rounded on the company's executives for the series of problems that are to result in it announcing massive losses.
 
The gathering, outside Tokyo, rubber stamped Toshiba's intention to sell its core memory chip business to help it recover costs from the financial crisis.


But the vote was passed through clenched teeth - with shareholders lining up to criticise the firm's performance over many years, just a day after Toshiba's US nuclear division filed for bankruptcy protection in New York.


It was revealed on Wednesday that the problems at Westinghouse could result in the parent firm reporting annual losses for the current financial year of over 1tn yen (£7.2bn).


The filing placed renewed doubts about whether Westinghouse power technology would be available to Toshiba's joint venture in the UK, which is due to create up to 20,000 jobs through a new nuclear power station in Cumbria.


The financial problems at Westinghouse - linked to project delays and cost overruns - have contributed to a series of delays in Toshiba reporting its earnings.


The firm could be delisted from the Japanese stock market unless it meets a new deadline of 11 April to make the figures public.

Its efforts have been complicated by whistleblower claims about accounting misconduct at the US unit - on top of earlier revelations that group losses were covered-up after the financial crisis.


One shareholder at the investor meeting with senior executives said: "Toshiba is now a laughing stock around the world. You're all incompetent managers. Do you even know what's going on?"


Others demanded to know why Shigenori Shiga, who once headed Westinghouse and stepped down as Toshiba's chairman in February, was not at Thursday's meeting despite still being employed by the company.


Toshiba insisted he was suffering "health issues".


Its president, Satoshi Tsunakawa, told the meeting: "We apologise to all stakeholders, including shareholders, for causing this trouble."




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