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Toshiba says it will continue sponsoring Brave Lupus rugby team

Toshiba Corp. said Friday it will continue sponsoring its famed rugby team and denied reports saying it has been considering selling the club in an effort to streamline its business.

«There have been reports that we are considering pulling out from the rugby team activities, but in fact we are not,» Toshiba said in a statement released on its website. «We will continue the activities of our rugby team and baseball team.»

Company sources said Thursday the electronics manufacturer is considering selling the Brave Lupus, the five-time Top League champions featuring Japan captain Michael Leitch, after the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The sources said that Toshiba CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani has been aiming to build a lean cost structure since assuming the top position in April, and wants Toshiba’s sports sponsorship to be reviewed despite the previous management’s decision last year to retain the company’s rugby and baseball teams.

The company continues to revamp its operations after an accounting fraud scandal and the bankruptcy of its U.S. nuclear power plant subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co. It spun off its white goods business in 2016 and its personal computer, television and chip businesses this year.

The Brave Lupus dominated the early years of the Top League, finishing runners-up in the inaugural 2003-2004 season before claiming five titles in six years. They have endured a slump since 2010, however, finishing outside the top-three for the first time in 2016-2017.

Toshiba finished the current season in sixth place in their pool and will battle in the playoffs beginning Dec. 1 for a ninth to 16th spot.

All — Kyodo News+

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