Shareholders go nuclear as Toshiba announces sale of chip division

Shareholders have lamented the downfall of Japanese technology icon Toshiba as they approved the sale of its memory chip division.

The vote to sell its prized semi-conductor business was made to cover costs after its US-based nuclear unit Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy.

However, it has been reported by Bloomberg that the decision didn’t pass without accusations being thrown at the corporation’s management during a meeting on Thursday.

“Toshiba is now a laughing-stock to the whole world,” one shareholder reportedly said during a question-and-answer section.

Another said that management was “incompetent” and one even called the executives “trash”.

Toshiba Chief Executive Officer Satoshi Tsunakawa opened Thursday’s proceedings by apologising to shareholders and reassuring them the company is doing everything in its power to avoid a de-listing after missing earnings reporting deadlines.

Westinghouse, which Toshiba bought for US$5.4 billion (A$7 billion) in 2006, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Wednesday.

The Japanese company said it may now book a loss of as much as 1.01 trillion yen (A$11.9 billion) in the year ending March, a record for a Japanese manufacturer according to Bloomberg data.

“The sale of memory business is even more important now that Westinghouse Chapter 11 application is likely to result in excessive debt expanding considerably,” Yukihiko Shimada, a Tokyo-based analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., wrote in a report.

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