Toshiba to withdraw from nuclear plant construction, chairman to quit

Toshiba Corp. will cease taking orders related to the building of nuclear power stations, sources said Saturday, in a move that would effectively mark its withdrawal from the nuclear plant construction business.

The news comes amid reports Toshiba’s chairman may resign over the massive write-down that has doomed the company’s U.S. nuclear business.

The multinational conglomerate said it will review its nuclear operations and spin off its chip business to raise funds in a bid to cover an expected asset impairment loss of up to ¥700 billion ($6.08 billion).

After Toshiba ceases taking new orders, it will focus on maintenance and decommissioning operations, according to the sources.

The company will continue work on four nuclear plants under construction in the United States that are expected to be completed by 2020.

The Japanese industrial conglomerate may announce company chairman Shigenori Shiga’s resignation as soon as Feb. 14, when it reports its April-December financial results, the sources also said.

Shiga once served as president of the U.S. nuclear unit, Westinghouse Electric Co., which Toshiba has said could face a multibillion-dollar loss due to cost overruns from delays in plant projects.

The post of Toshiba chairman is expected to remain vacant after Shiga’s resignation.

Westinghouse Chairman Danny Roderick is also set to step down, the sources said, but Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa is likely to stay on.

Shiga, Roderick and Tsunakawa took their current posts last June as Toshiba reshuffled its management following an accounting scandal that surfaced in 2015.

Shiga was the vice president in charge of the power systems business when Westinghouse acquired CB&I Stone & Webster in late 2015. CB&I Stone & Webster is the U.S. nuclear plant construction firm at the heart of Toshiba’s massive write-down problem.

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