Toshiba shareholders on Thursday approved the embattled conglomerate's plan to spin off its prized memory chip unit to bolster its financial standing as it scrambles to secure funds to cover massive losses from its U.S. nuclear business.
Investors took turns to hurl abuse at executives during a meeting convened to take a vote on the intended disposal of its prized semiconductor business. Toshiba is looking to sell a majority stake in the unit to mend a balance sheet ravaged by billions of dollars in writedowns related to cost overruns at nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse Electric.
On Wednesday, Toshiba said it could post a group net loss of 1.01 trillion yen ($9.08 billion) for the fiscal year ending on Friday due in part to the massive costs related to Westinghouse's Chapter 11 filing. Westinghouse has $9.8 billion in total liabilities, much of which must be shouldered by Toshiba under a debt guarantee for the U.S. unit.
The company has said it's received some offers for its NAND memory business. Toshiba has likely attracted 10 bidders including Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Western Digital, which has jointly invested in Toshiba's Yokkaichi flash memory plant in central Japan, and South Korean SK Hynix Inc.
The company has said it could sell a majority or even the entire stake of the operation to raise funds. The company will choose the preferred buyer in May.
Toshiba's semiconductor business accounted for about 25 percent of the company's 5.67 trillion yen in revenue during the latest fiscal year.
Toshiba Chief Executive Officer Satoshi Tsunakawa opened Thursday's proceedings by apologizing to shareholders and reassuring them the company is doing everything in its power to avoid a de-listing after missing earnings reporting deadlines.