Business news organizations' websites lit up February 14 with the news that Toshiba has taken a $6.3 billion writedown to its US nuclear unit and made several executive changes, including the resignation of Chairman Shigenori Shiga as representative executive officer to take management responsibility for the loss.
In December, Toshiba announced it expected to incur a loss of several hundred billion yen in relation to the nuclear power plant builder purchased through Westinghouse Electric. Shigenori Shiga, a Toshiba chairman that hailed from the failed US -based Westinghouse Electric nuclear plant subsidiary, tendered his resignation.
The losses have gotten so big that they could topple a company whose roots go back to 1875, the dawn of Japan's modern era.
Shaw and Toshiba bought Westinghouse in 2006.
"The best possible option is to sell everything because it would be meaningless for Toshiba to keep a minority stake in the memory business, " said Ace Research Institute analyst Hideki Yasuda. It has already chose to spin off its core chip business and said today it is considering selling a majority stake, for which multiple potential investors have made offers. "There is also the question of why the nuclear write-down happened". The 2015 acquisition has been a major cause of the massive loss in Toshiba's nuclear power business.
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Up until now Toshiba has said it was looking to sell no more than 19.9 percent of its chip business for about $3.6 billion although this has produced a tepid response from potential buyers (see Few firms show interest in Toshiba's chip business ).
In December, Toshiba warned investors that it might have to write down "billions" on that botched investment.
The company will conduct further investigations on the issue during the next month.
Toshiba manufactured one of the reactors in Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was hit by an quake and tsunami in March 2011, and has since been involved in the clean up.
Westinghouse has built 91 reactors around the world, of which 67 are still operating, 12 are closed and four are in long-term outage.
Toshiba is attempting to recover after it emerged in 2015 that profits had been overstated for seven years, prompting its boss to step down.