Toshiba predicts $4.5bn loss, plans to fire 7,000 employees

The accounting scandal has left an indelible mark on the firm, leading to drastic restructuring efforts.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Toshiba's financial struggles have reached breaking point, leading to a restructuring effort which will see thousands lose their jobs and a loss of $4.5 billion over the fiscal year.


The company, which operates in industries ranging from consumer technology to nuclear, is fighting to regain an even financial footing in the wake of an accounting scandal which shook the firm to the roots of its foundations.

In a punishing effort to keep the company afloat, Toshiba executives have revealed plans to shed businesses, streamline corporate practices and bring down operating costs.

Under the "Toshiba Revitalization Action Plan," (.PDF) the Japanese conglomerate will axe 6,800 jobs in its consumer electronics business, which is roughly 30 percent of the workforce, by 31 March 2016. In addition, "indirect" employees -- such as contractors -- will be axed, bringing labor costs down further.

The company also intends to slash operating costs in the PC business and re-align the company away from consumer products in favor of the enterprise market, where "further global demand is expected" in the Japanese and United States markets.

The Visual Products business -- the distribution arm of LCD displays -- will now operate through a brand license structure only overseas. Toshiba will focus its efforts on the Japanese market instead, where it will go up against rival Panasonic.

The business has already shifted to a brand license model in the US and Europe, and now businesses in Asia, the Middle East and Africa will follow suit, excluding partners and business deals in China.

As part of the restructuring, Toshiba is also selling off its television manufacturing plant in Indonesia to another firm. In addition, the firm's Ome Complex in Western Tokyo, which develops TVs and PCs, will be closed and sold off.

The ailing firm will downsize TV sales to 600,000 per year but still hopes to generate a fair profit by concentrating on high-end models.

Sony acquired Toshiba's image sensor business in October as part of the firm's restructuring efforts, in a deal believed to be worth approximately 20 billion yen ($166.15 million).

The Tokyo, Japan-based firm also said the Personal & Client Solutions company will be spun off from the main Toshiba corporate arm in order to be merged with Toshiba Information Equipments Co., a B2B PC sales firm in Japan, by April 2016.

Toshiba hopes to cut operating costs by approximately 20 billion yen by March next year.

However, the plan isn't all about selling off assets and cutting jobs. A new management team is also in place to prevent another accounting scandal which sent share prices plummeting and has brought the company to its knees.

In September, Toshiba admitted to overstating its profits by almost $2 billion over the past seven years in an accounting scandal which was caused by unit managers overstating profits in order to reach corporate targets.

The scandal not only revealed a flawed business culture -- which has caused investors to lose faith in the firm and sent stocks plummeting -- but also that most of its businesses are struggling. Former president Hisao Tanaka resigned over the disclosure and has been succeeded by Masashi Muromachi.

Additional training in compliance has been arranged and the company is conducting a thorough review of its accounts. Not only this, but the bloated corporate headcount is due to be cut by approximately 1,000 employees.

In total, this could lead to up to 10,000 staff facing the chop, including those in consumer technology, the corporate arm, early retirement seekers and contractors.

Unfortunately for shareholders, Toshiba estimates that restructuring costs, paying off staff for early retirement or redundancy and the sale of the Indonesian factory will result in a loss of approximately 550 billion yen ($4.5bn) by the end of the fiscal year. In FY2014, Toshiba reported a net loss of 37.8 billion yen.

"By implementing and resolutely executing this action plan, Toshiba hopes to regain the trust of shareholders, investors and all stakeholders, and to achieve a strong corporate constitution," Toshiba says.

Toshiba share prices plummeted by 10 percent when the plan went public.

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