Toshiba says third-party accounting probe to take until mid-July

Reuters News
Posted: May 29, 2015 4:40 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese industrial conglomerate Toshiba Corp said on Friday that an ongoing independent investigation into accounting irregularities was likely to last until mid-July, and that it

would file its annual report up to two months later than usual.

Toshiba has not been able to close its books for the year that ended in March because of the investigation into its book-keeping, which it says likely led to profits being overstated by at least 50 billion yen ($415 million) in recent years. As a result, it also skipped its year-end dividend.

The company's results for the full fiscal year would normally have been reported by mid-May, and the standard deadline for filing annual reports, the equivalent of 10-K reports, is end-June.

It said the government approved its request to submit its annual report by end-August and announce its fiscal first-quarter results by September 14, a month later than the standard deadline for April-June earnings reports.

"We deeply apologise for the concern and trouble we have caused to everyone including shareholders and investors due to this accounting issue," the company said in a statement.

The probe has provided a reminder of previous accounting investigations in Japan that developed into scandals, including camera and medical equipment maker Olympus Corp's 13-year cover-up of $1.7 billion in losses.

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.

The company plans to hold an annual general meeting on June 25 for shareholders to vote on appointing its board of directors, as well as an extraordinary meeting of shareholders after the third-party investigation is over, it said.

Sources have said Toshiba executives were considering a way to compensate investors with a special dividend after the investigation is over and its findings show the company's finances are strong enough.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Muralikumar Anantharaman)