Japan's Toshiba Corp shocks investors with a last-minute delay to a long-awaited financial update, saying it needs more time to probe its Westinghouse nuclear business. Ivor Bennett reports.
Investors knew something was coming but perhaps not this. Results normally a question of what, not when. (SOUNDBITE)(Japanese) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND PRESIDENT OF TOSHIBA CORPORATION, SATOSHI TSUNAKAWA, SAYING: "An event occurred that inevitably led us to delay the release of our third quarter report, which means we had to also delay the planned announcement of our earnings. We would like to express our heartfelt apologies to everyone for causing this major inconvenience." Toshiba said it needs more time to investigate problems at its US power plant business. Full results now not due for another month. SOUNDBITE (English) KEN ODELUGA, MARKET ANALYST, CITY INDEX, SAYING: "It sort of beggars belief that they couldn't come to the market regulator earlier and said 'look, we're having difficulties, we need to delay'. And that's what they should have done." The difficulties go further. The cost overruns at its nuclear arm were revealed to be 6.3 billion dollars. Enough to drag the group to a full-year loss and wipe out shareholder equity. Chairman Shigenori Shiga is the first top-level casualty but shares still slid 8 percent. The group's market value now a fifth of what it was 10 years ago. SOUNDBITE (English) KEN ODELUGA, MARKET ANALYST, CITY INDEX, SAYING: "I think we've gone beyond the point with Toshiba whereby people are looking for heads. I think now we're in a situation whereby real remedial action needs to be taken to actually at least save the outlook for the next year or so." To that end, Toshiba said it could push harder to raise capital. Including selling a majority stake, rather than 20 percent, in its prize memory chip business.