Toshiba Corp. said Thursday it reached a deal to sell its U.S. liquefied natural gas operation to a Chinese chemical products maker as part of restructuring, after already selling its crown jewel chip unit.
In a newly unveiled five-year business plan through fiscal 2023, the Japanese technology conglomerate also said it will withdraw from the nuclear plant construction business in Britain and cut about 7,000 jobs.
"We want to make (Toshiba) one of the world's leading technology companies," Chairman and CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani said at a news conference in Tokyo, as the company also unveiled a plan to invest around 1.7 trillion yen ($14.95 billion) in growth areas such as renewable energy and IT technologies.
On its U.S. LNG business feared to incur massive losses on future contracts, Toshiba said it will sell Toshiba America LNG Corp. to ENN Ecological Holdings Co. by March 2019 for $15 million. But Toshiba will also pay about 93 billion yen to the Chinese company and report that as a loss.
Additionally, Toshiba will liquidate its British nuclear arm, NuGeneration Ltd., after failing to find a buyer for the unit, which had planned to build three nuclear reactors in Britain. Toshiba is expected to post an extraordinary loss of around 15 billion yen in doing so.
Toshiba has been revamping its operations following an accounting fraud scandal that came to light in 2015, and the bankruptcy of its U.S. nuclear power plant subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co. in 2017.
It sold its white goods business in 2016 and its personal computer, television and chip businesses earlier this year.
As of late June, the number of Toshiba group employees worldwide stood at about 132,000 after a round of business restructuring. The company expects about 1,000 employees to retire per year.
A large part of the planned workforce cutbacks will come through natural attrition, the company said. Toshiba said in a statement it plans an early retirement program for 1,060 employees, and some of its group companies are separately considering cutting a total of up to 400 employees.
Although the company is trying to shed its loss-making businesses and slash costs, it continues to struggle to find new growth drivers in the absence of the money-making chip unit.
The 1.7 trillion yen investment plan will cover the "internet of things," social infrastructure and artificial intelligence. Toshiba said it will also invest to boost production of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
On Thursday, Toshiba posted a 1.08 trillion yen group net profit for the April-September half, a sharp turnaround from a loss of 49.79 billion yen a year earlier. It completed the sale of its chip subsidiary in June.
Group operating profit tumbled 80.7 percent to 6.98 billion yen, on sales of 1.78 trillion yen, down 5.1 percent.
For the full business year through next March, Toshiba cut its profit estimate, citing various restructuring-related costs including the 93 billion yen loss from selling the U.S. LNG business. It now projects a net profit of 920 billion yen, down from a previously estimated 1.07 trillion yen.
Toshiba said it will pay 20 yen per share as an extra dividend and 10 yen per share in regular dividend, its first in four years, and announced a 700 billion yen share buy-back plan.