Tuesday 14 February 2017 6:36 am

Fears grow for Toshiba as it delays nuclear writedown and earnings announcement

Shares in Toshiba fell over eight per cent in overnight trading after the conglomerate unexpectedly pushed back an announcement on its quarterly earnings and details of a mammoth writedown of its nuclear business.

Investors were waiting with bated breath for the announcement, due today at 3am GMT (12pm Japan time) with the market expecting a charge of as much as 700bn yen (£5bn) for the beleaguered nuclear operations.

But in a written statement the firm said it was “not ready” to deliver an update.

Read more: Toshiba set to report a £3bn loss for nine months of 2016

Nikkei business daily reported that, alongside its earnings update, Toshiba will warn that the outlook for the firm is unclear. The newspaper added Toshiba may now sell its interest in NuGeneration – the British firm planning to build a new nuclear power station near to Sellafield.

Meanwhile, sources told the Kyodo news agency Toshiba was locked in discussions with its auditors PwC over the sign-off of the figures.

Makoto Kikucki, the chief executive of Myojo Asset Management, told Reuters the delay was proof the firm was in a “mess”.

He added: “We can assume that the company is not delaying its earnings release for good news.”

The cost of insuring against the default of Toshiba jumped on the news, with credit default swap prices also rising nine per cent – indicating the market believes there's a heightened risk the company could fail.

Read more: Toshiba's shares have fallen 20 per cent

Chief executive Satoshi Tsunakawa is due to speak at a press conference at 7am GMT. However, a spokesperson for Toshiba told Reuters this may also need to be delayed.

In 2015, Toshiba twice delayed earnings announcements after it struggled to manage the fallout of a £1.1bn accounting scandal.