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Toshiba may axe TV & PC workers, seek partner for nuclear operations-CEO

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toshiba Corp may lay off staff in its underperforming home appliances, TV and PC businesses and seek a partner for its nuclear operations to overhaul the company after a $1.3 billion accounting scandal, its chief executive said on Thursday.

“The latest accounting problems might have been driven by the fact that some of our businesses have lost earnings power. We¬†must urgently take action in these businesses,” Chief Executive Masashi Muromachi told a roundtable of reporters.

As part of its overhaul, Toshiba has launched a new management team, which won approval from shareholders on Wednesday.

Muromachi said that the restructuring steps may temporarily hurt the company’s capital base, already weak compared with rivals such as Hitachi Ltd. Being placed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s watch list, Toshiba is practically unable to raise funds through bond and equity issuance.

The company plans to finance restructuring by tapping into bank loans if needed, Muromachi said.

Toshiba’s nuclear power business, which has been the center of investor attention, may need a partner, he said.

“The environment for the nuclear business is tough in Japan, and we need to address various issues to meet revised U.S. regulatory rules,” he said.

Analysts have long speculated that the value of assets and goodwill related to Toshiba’s 87 percent stake in U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric has been overstated, though the company has insisted that there is no need for a writedown at least for now.

Toshiba paid $5.4 billion for a majority stake in 2006 at the height of the nuclear industry boom. But the Fukushima disaster and the U.S. shale boom have reduced the appeal of nuclear power.

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