Sharp mulls overhaul of LCD business

Sharp's free-form display on show at CES in Las Vegas on January 5, 2015
Sharp's free-form display on show at CES in Las Vegas



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8 April 2015 | 0

Struggling electronics maker Sharp said it is grappling with how to reform its LCD panel business, but has yet to make any decisions.

Kyodo News and other media reported that Sharp plans to spin off its business for small and mid-size LCD panels, used in smartphones and other mobile devices, by getting the state-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) to invest ¥100 billion (€760 million) in a new subsidiary.

INCJ would control a roughly 40% stake in the LCD subsidiary, according to the reports. Sharp, however, denied that any plans have been made regarding its own business.

“We are currently considering various possibilities for fundamental structural reforms including LCD business, but there are no specific decisions made at this time,” Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said via e-mail to IDG News Service.

She added that the company is reviewing its medium-term management plan and the results will be announced around May.

In its latest earnings release covering the nine months to 31 December 2014, Sharp said sales in its LCD business were down about 7.6%. It blamed rapid foreign exchange fluctuations and falling prices for small and mid-size LCD panels. Chinese and Korean makers have been a source of fierce competition in the mobile device screen market.

An INCJ spokeswoman declined to comment on the reported talks with Sharp. In addition to the TV maker, INCJ is also backed by over two dozen Japanese companies including Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba. In 2012, INCJ helped launch Japan Display, which brought together the small and midsized display businesses of those three companies.

Japan Display has since emerged as a competitor for small LCD panels, producing iPhone screens and other products. In February, Japanese media reported that it was in talks with Apple to build a new screen factory in Japan.

Over the past year, Sharp has turned out thin-bezel, high definition displays for its Aquos Crystal smartphone, as well as prototype 70″ capacitive LCD panels that are sensitive enough to respond to brushstrokes.

IDG News Service

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