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Japan's Sharp unveils $1.9 billion bailout after large annual loss
May 14, 2015 / 6:49 AM / 3 years ago

Japan's Sharp unveils $1.9 billion bailout after large annual loss

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Sharp Corp (6753.T) said it had secured a $1.9 billion (1 billion pound) bailout, its second major bank-led rescue in three years, after falling deep into the red as its smartphone display business was battered by competition from Asian rivals.

A man using his mobile phone walks under a logo of Sharp Corp outside an electronics shop in Tokyo, Japan, May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Mizuho Bank (8411.T) and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (8306.T) will inject a combined 200 billion yen ($1.7 billion) in a debt-for-equity swap, Sharp said in a statement, a move that will buy it time but is unlikely to allay worries about the long-term viability of its display business.

Those funds will go towards repaying debt.

A corporate turnaround fund, Japan Industrial Solutions, will also provide 25 billion yen, which will be used to fund growth.

In return, Sharp will embark on further restructuring that will include cutting 10 percent of its global workforce and selling assets such as the building which houses its headquarters.

It reported a net loss of 222.4 billion yen for the past financial year, its third loss in four years.

“We are aiming for a fresh start, one that will lead to a recovery,” Chief Executive Kozo Takahashi told a news conference.

For the current year, Sharp is forecasting a return to operating profit, setting a goal of 80 billion yen, compared with an operating loss of 48 billion yen in the year ended in March. It not provide an estimate for net income.

Asked about its display business, which some analysts believe should be sold off, Takahashi said the company had no plans to spin off any part of its business.

Osaka-based Sharp, which gains much of its revenue from LCD screens and TVs, has tried to focus on high-end displays to protect its margins and avoid directly competing with smaller Asian rivals.

But it has struggled to innovate sufficiently to keep commanding significant premiums from the likes of Apple Inc (AAPL.O). It also faced unexpectedly strong competition from domestic rival Japan Display Inc (6740.T) and has been hit by a weaker yen.

($1 = 119.1000 yen)

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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