Fresh fears of an S&P downgrade sends Toshiba's shares to new lows

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Toshiba revealed a £5bn writedown on its US nuclear business this week (Source: Getty)

Troubled Japanese conglomerate Toshiba's shares plummeted yet again today - this time on news S&P Global could cut its credit rating.

S&P said it could lower the firm's rating by several notches if it receives financial support, including debt restructuring, sending investors into panic mode again.

Toshiba's shares plunged as much as 12.5 per cent today before closing down 9.23 per cent.

The ratings firm lists Toshiba's credit as junk, at CCC+, following downgrades in December and January, after the group said it was struggling to plug a multi-billion pound hole in its US nuclear business.

S&P expects banks to help Toshiba, including by extending deadlines for loan repayments.

Another downgrade means banks would charge Toshiba even higher rates for credit - something it clearly can't afford.

According to Reuters, S&P Global analyst Hiroki Shibata said in a telephone conference: "If any financial support includes debt-to-equity swaps or changes in loan conditions, we would consider that as selective default. In that event, we might cut its rating by several notches."

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC), a major lender to Toshiba, said yesterday it would provide as much support as possible to the embattled Japanese firm.

Read more: Toshiba's chairman resigns as the company delays reporting its earnings

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