Growth Companies

Toshiba Shares Tumble on Accounting Revelations

The Japanese company says it understated the costs of some infrastructure projects and will set up a committee to investigate accounting irregulari...
Matthew HellerMay 11, 2015

Toshiba lost close to $2.5 billion in market value on Monday after the Japanese industrial giant disclosed that irregularities in its accounting may be more extensive than originally thought.

Toshiba withdrew its earnings forecast for the last fiscal year and canceled a year-end dividend pending an internal probe into the improper accounting on infrastructure projects. It had previously warned in April that it may have underreported the costs of some infrastructure projects in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

“It’s a negative for investors and quite an embarrassment for a major company like Toshiba to withdraw figures,” Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management, told Bloomberg. “Accounting standards for infrastructure projects also tend to be vague, allowing for something like this to happen.”

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The company had projected net income of 120 billion yen ($1 billion) on sales of 6.7 trillion yen for the year ended March 31. “We sincerely apologize to stakeholders,” a Toshiba spokesman said. “We will do our best for the recovery of trust.”

According to Toshiba, several construction projects have understated costs, and the investigation so far has included power systems, social infrastructure, and community solutions units. The magnitude of the earnings restatement is not yet clear, a spokeswoman said.

“The new development … is worsening [investor] uncertainty further,” Fumio Matsumoto, fund manager at Dalton Capital Japan, told Reuters. “At the end of the day, the amount that’s affected may or may not that big, but the fact that we don’t have details leaves us worried.”

Toshiba said it would set up a third-party committee to further investigate the accounting issues, and that it could not report its financial results for the last fiscal year until June or later.

The company’s shares closed 16.6% lower at 403.30 yen in Tokyo on Monday, giving the company an overall market value of about 1.7 trillion yen, close to 300 billion lower than Friday’s close.

Toshiba’s power and social infrastructure business accounted for about 11% of operating income in the year started April 1, 2013.

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