Toshiba brings Australian client solutions unit under American PC business

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Toshiba brings Australian client solutions unit under American PC business

Toshiba has restructured its personal computer business in Australia and New Zealand as the company looks to get back on track after the $8.6 billion loss and accounting scandal that hit its Japanese parent last year.

The local business unit has been rebranded Toshiba Client Solutions ANZ and will report into the American operation rather than into Japan. Mark Whittard continues to serve as the managing director and chief executive.

Mark Simons, president and chief executive of Toshiba America Information Systems, said the formation of Toshiba Client Solutions ANZ affirmed the company's commitment to the region. 

“The addition of Australia and New Zealand to our footprint in the United States, Latin America and Canada, creates functional synergies, which streamline and strengthen our mobile computing business across all of these regions,” he said.

Toshiba withdrew from the consumer market in early 2016 and faced scrutiny that it would end PC production.

While local retailers such as JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Leading Edge Computers lost access to the retail range of devices, these national resellers continue to supply Toshiba to business and education customers.

Troubled times

The PC maker spent much of 2015 and 2016 plagued by Japan's worst corporate scandal in years, one which claimed the scalp of the chief executive and led to a net loss of 710 billion yen ($8.6 billion).

The PC division was found to have engaged in "channel stuffing", a practice in which, at the end of the quarter, Toshiba sold a high volume of parts to contract manufacturers at a significant mark-up to the price the division had paid for them, according to Reuters.

The division subtracted those mark-ups from its costs, boosting its earnings for the quarter. But Toshiba would later have to purchase the PCs built by those contractors at a price that would include the mark-up on the parts, meaning it was temporarily booking profits in a way that did not reflect the true nature of its accounts.

Toshiba has also faced an ongoing recall of its laptop batteries, which was first issued in February then extended earlier this month.

With the Australian restructure, Toshiba is touting "expanded access to additional technical resources, an enhanced level of technical support, additional systems configurations, robust build-to-order capabilities with rapid fulfilment schedules, and streamlined operational efficiencies".

A Toshiba spokesperson told CRN the company "did make a reduction in staff" in the ANZ business.

"Most of the reduction impacted employees associated with our in-country retail business. No new jobs have been created as a result of the action. However, as the organisation grows there is potential to create additional jobs," he said.

The spokesperson added that there would be no change to its current product line-up. "We currently have a robust product portfolio and plan to maintain this portfolio moving forward. We will continue to offer our enterprise, government, education and SMB customers with the Satellite Pro, Tecra and Portege brands they have come to expect from Toshiba."

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