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Toshiba eying semiconducter stake sale to overcome write-downs

Toshiba
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Toshiba Corp’s stock is tumbling and it’s market value has slid to $9 billion. And here’s what the company plans on doing: It is looking to sell off a significant chunk of it’s stake in the semiconductor business to Western Digital to prevent the aftermath of a multi-billion dollar accounting write-down that it could possibly be facing.

According to Reuters, it has given non-disclosure agreements to possible stake buyers, including the likes of private equity firm Silver Lake. The company has also reportedly approached the state owned Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) for support.

Still reeling under an accounting scandal that landed it on the Tokyo financial market’s watchlist, the industrial giant is unable to leverage traditional equity markets and is ‘desperate to avoid falling into negative net worth.’ This write-down, if faced by the company in future, could further deteriorate the shareholder’s worth by a major amount.

As is the case with most rumors churned out there, a specific percentage of the stake sale can’t be confirmed as yet; but what remains for sure is the company will remain the majority holder in it’s highly-prized semiconductor business, which provides the greatest share in it’s overall operating profit figures.

Japan Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters on Friday that the government was monitoring developments closely given the fact that Toshiba enjoyed a dominant position in the NAND chips market and played a important role in the shaping of Japan’s corporate vision and development. Canon Inc Chief Executive Fujio Matirao too has sent positive signals saying they were not ruling out extending support to Toshiba in case the latter requested, especially since Toshiba is a major buyer of their photographic equipment.

Toshiba’s bad days are far from over. The Japanese corp. faced it’s toughest battle last year in the form of an accounting scandal. The company had over-stated it’s profits by a whopping $2 billion over the past 7 years. Managers would set aggressive profit targets that subordinates would find it hard to achieve without inflating the actual results and showing performance in a better light than it actually was. It led to the rejig of it’s entire top management, and the company has faced roadblocks in it’s revival ever since.,

The electronics appliance division is not exactly profitable and the chip division is also seeing slower growth year by year, thanks to a fall in demand from Chinese firms.

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