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Toshiba accelerates debt repayment as finances improve

The move gives company more freedom over memory sale as banks lose sway

Chinese antitrust regulators are still reviewing the proposed sale of Toshiba Memory. (Photo by Takuya Imai)

TOKYO -- Toshiba is quickly paying down its debt, diminishing the influence of lenders who want a quick sale of its memory unit to a group led by U.S. buyout firm Bain Capital and fueling speculation that the company may consider a different route on the sale.

Toshiba repaid more than 40% of the debt owed to banks in a single quarter. At the end of 2017, Toshiba owed more than 900 billion yen ($8.23 billion) to six principal lenders. That figure shrunk to around 500 billion yen as of the end of March. The money owed to main lenders Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Mizuho Bank stood at 80 billion yen each in March, plunging by 60% over the three months. The amount owed to the other four banks dropped as well.

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