Toshiba Corporation is considering selling some shares in its US subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Company in face of financial and accounting difficulties, according to Japanese media reports.
Toshiba said in a press release it has nothing to disclose at the moment, adding its policy of retaining a majority stake in Westinghouse remains unchanged. Toshiba bought Westinghouse in 2006 for JPY640bn ($5.27bn) to strengthen its nuclear power business, and purchased an additional 20% stake for JPY125bn in 2013, increasing its share in the company to 87%.
Toshiba is also arranging for former president and current vice chairman Norio Sasaki to step down as a board member at an extraordinary shareholders meeting, scheduled for September, to take responsibility for the accounting errors. Sasaki was president between 2009 and 2013, covering most of the period for which the company has been found to have overstated its profits.
The company hopes to secure about JPY200bn through stock and real estate sales. Toshiba has admitted overstating a total of JPY54.8bn in group operating profits for the five years to March 2014, but sources familiar with the matter say this could reach around JPY200bn. The scandal has also hurt the company's credit standing.
Toshiba was considering reducing its Westinghouse stake before the latest accounting revelations. "We've been looking for a partner for some time. Our position hasn't changed," company spokesman Hirokazu Tsukimoto said, adding that Toshiba wanted to maintain a majority stake.