Toshiba posts $439.5 million H1 loss as solar ops struggle

The Japanese industrial giant — which operates several PV-related businesses under its Energy Systems and Solutions division — is now mulling a share placement to raise up to JPY 600 billion, according to reports. The potential stake sale is one of several measures Toshiba may resort to if the planned JPY 2 trillion sale of its flash memory chip business to a consortium led by Bain Capital is not finalized by the end of the current fiscal year on March 31, 2018.

Toshiba’s transmission and distribution unit — an entity under its Energy Systems and Solutions division that sells PV systems — reported net sales of JPY 126.6 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year, down 12% year on year. In an online statement, it partly attributed the unit’s weak performance to “deteriorated market conditions” for PV systems.

The Energy Systems and Solutions division covers a range of businesses, including its troubled nuclear power systems unit and thermal and hydropower systems business. It sells PV systems, but also provides EPC and O&M services for solar projects. The division also used to include Landis+Gyr, Toshiba’s smart meters unit. The Japanese group sold off its 60% stake in the Swiss meter manufacturer earlier this year, as part of efforts to cover losses stemming from its bankrupt Westinghouse nuclear business in the U.S.

Tokyo-based Toshiba posted a group net loss of JPY 965.7 billion for fiscal 2016, as its energy systems and solutions business recorded an operating loss of JPY 41.7 billion. However, the group has continued to work on solar-related R&D this year and a number of PV+storage projects over the past year. In the spring, it completed a 3 MW PV-powered microgrid project in Tasmania with Paris-based Electro Power Systems (EPS). And in September, it claimed a new conversion efficiency record of 10.5% with its perovskite solar cell mini-modules.