TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese industrial conglomerate Toshiba Corp is considering paying a special dividend to compensate investors after skipping a year-end payment due to a probe into accounting irregularities, sources familiar with the situation said.
The company has set up a third-party committee to conduct an independent inquiry into book-keeping errors that led to profits being overstated by at least $415 million in recent years.
The company has delayed its fourth-quarter earnings announcement and suspended a year-end dividend payment due to the investigation. So far, it has said it was likely to mark down operating profit by at least 50 billion yen ($415 million) for the three years through March 2014.
The sources said that Toshiba executives were considering a way to compensate investors after the investigation is done and if results, once announced, show its finances are strong enough.
Toshiba declined to comment on possible dividend payments, saying the investigation was still ongoing.
Separate sources, including a regulator and senior company official, said on Tuesday that the inquiry was likely to take more than a month, meaning Toshiba would be unable to file its annual report, the equivalent of a Form 10-K, before the end of June as required.
Shares of Toshiba, whose businesses extend from laptop computers to nuclear power plants, have slid about 20 percent since it disclosed an initial internal probe in early April.
(Reporting by Reiji Murai and Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)