Toshiba faces criticism from shareholders as they approve plans to split off its memory chip business

Courtney Goldsmith
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Chief executive Satoshi Tsunakawa faced criticism from shareholders (Source: Getty)

Toshiba's shareholders have approved plans to split off the company's prized flash memory chip business as it prepares to sell.

The firm yesterday announced its US nuclear unit, Westinghouse, had filed for bankruptcy protection, and Toshiba hopes to raise at least $9bn (£7.24bn) from the sale of its chip business to cover the losses.

Chief executive Satoshi Tsunakawa and other executives faced a crowd of angry shareholders at the meeting, which lasted more than three hours.

One investor pointed out the firm described both the chip and nuclear businesses as core units of Toshiba just last year. "How can something that was supposed to be a pillar turn into a hole?" the shareholder asked, referring to the nuclear business.

Another called Toshiba a "laughing stock around the world".

A source told Reuters the chip business has 10 potential bidders, including Western Digital, Micron Technology, SK Hynix and financial investors. Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer is also expected to place an offer.

The firm, which is set to report its finances on 11 April, said its own net loss for the year could reach 1 trillion yen (£7.26bn) compared with a previous estimate of 390bn yen.

Read more: South Korea's Kepco is in talks to buy Toshiba's UK nuclear stake

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