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There are wisps of smoke, but is there any fire?

Last year, Toshiba was engulfed in an accounting scandal following the discovery in April 2015 that it had overstated profits by nearly $2billion during the preceding seven years. The reason was, apparently, that aggressive profit targets set by the management could not be met without a spot of 'creative accounting'.

One of the consequences of this discovery saw Toshiba start to restructure its operations, with some business units apparently to be sold. In October 2015, it announced plans to launch a new company consolidating some of its semiconductor operations, but gave no further details.

Then, in December, it announced that it was selling fabrication facilities, equipment and related assets in its Oita facility to Sony. That deal included a 300mm fab at Oita.

Now, a news story published over the weekend in Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun suggests that, with the exception of its NAND flash memory operations, Toshiba is looking to sell its semiconductor business.

The company has reacted quickly, claiming it has not made any such announcements, adding the report is not based on information it has provided.

So, as the age old question asks, is there any fire beneath the wisps of smoke?

Graham Pitcher

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