Sharp needs help. The consumer electronics company on Tuesday posted a worse-than-expected $5.4 billion loss for the previous fiscal year, and it released its plan to turn things around over the coming three years. For one thing, the company intends to tap banks for $1.5 billion in funds. Sharp also said it will look to boost smartphone display sales to Samsung as business with its top client Apple begins to slow. More →
Sharp will reportedly be laying off 5,000 employees as part of a three-year recovery plan to turn the company around. According to The Asahi Shimbun, the number of directors and advisory positions will be cut in half, and the number of employees at Sharp’s main office in Osaka, Japan will be reduced by 50%. Additional layoffs are also expected in China and Malaysia. In an effort to increase profits, the company will be revising its focus to producing smartphone displays, large-sized HDTV sets and 4K TVs. Sharp will reportedly announce its three-year recovery plan next Tuesday.
News of Samsung’s (005930) strategic investment in Sharp emerged last week, and it looks like there maybe be some added benefits for Samsung beyond strengthening its relationship with the struggling panel maker. According to market analysis firm Trefis, Samsung’s $110 million investment in Sharp is also a dirt cheap way for the South Korean company to apply pressure to Apple (AAPL), which it says is threatened by Samsung’s move. More →
Samsung (005930) is reportedly set to buy a 3% stake in struggling panel maker Sharp Corporation for approximately $110 million. The deal will ensure Samsung sees “a smooth supply of large-sized TV panels and help bolster the Japanese company’s chances of survival,” Reuters reported on Wednesday. ”Rather than the amount of investment, it is the partnership with Samsung that Sharp gains that is important,” noted Tetsuro Ii, CEO of investment firm Commons AM. “Sharp gains an opportunity to use the Samsung platform.” Sharp also builds display panels used in Apple’s (AAPL) iPad, and it is reportedly developing larger displays to be used in Apple’s much rumored HDTV that is currently in development.
Apple (AAPL) is learning that good help can be hard to find. In its eagerness to shed its reliance on Samsung (005930) as a component supplier, Apple has had difficulty in finding another vendor capable of producing displays as efficiently as its partner-turned-rival traditionally has. This past summer, the company began moving away from Sharp (SCHAY) a bit when it tapped LG Display (LPL) and AU Optronics to produce panels for its iPad mini. But now that Apple has experienced supply chain problems with the iPad mini, it could decide to give Sharp a fresh look for future devices. More →
Sharp (SHCAY) announced on Monday it has begun production for the next generation of smartphone LCD panels. Measuring at 5-inch in diagonal width with a 443 pixel per inch (PPI) density, Sharp’s new LCDs will sport a whopping full-HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. Sharp says the new display uses “CG-Silicon technology” to fit “the same number of pixels in a smartphone-size screen as there are in a full-HD LCD TV.” Google (GOOG) is rumored to be partnering up with HTC (2498) to build the 5-inch Nexus smartphone with a 1080p resolution display. Aside from the Oppo Find 5 that uses a 5-inch 1080p LCD, most smartphones and “phablets” usually top out at 720p (1280 x 720 resolution). Sharp’s new LCDs will usher in a new age of visual clarity on smartphones. More →
When the iPhone 5′s opening-weekend sales only reached 5 million units instead of the sky-high estimates some Wall Street analysts’ offered ahead of launch, investors panicked and Apple’s (AAPL) stock took a hit. Some might say the record-setting sales figure is still “epic,” but Apple bulls whose projections overshot actual sales were quick to blame the disparity on supply shortages. Sharp’s display panel production in particular was said to be falling short, but an unnamed company executive on Friday confirmed that it is now producing “adequate volumes” of display panels Reuters says are destined for Apple’s new iPhone. The iPhone 5 launched on several regional U.S. carriers and in 22 new countries earlier on Friday.
Sharp (SHCAY) plans to lay off 11,000 employees and generate $2.74 billion by selling off various assets, according to a leaked memo obtained by Japanese news organization Kyodo News. The troubled Japan-based company, which previously announced plans to cut 2,000 domestic jobs, submitted its plans to various financial institutions to notify them about its new restructuring proposals. Sharp will cut wages, unload a number of its overseas manufacturing plants and cut ties with its subsidiary and shares in Toshiba, in addition to overhauling its LCD TV business, cutting down its solar battery operation and strengthening its LCD panel business for mobile devices. The company’s previously announced round of layoffs are set to begin in November, and Kyodo News did not reveal when the newly proposed job cuts will take place. More →
It has taken longer than expected but Sharp (SCHAY) has finally started shipping out iPhone 5 screens. Unnamed sources have told The Wall Street Journal that the Japanese electronics manufacturer began production of the new screens earlier this week after weeks of delays, a move that the Journal says “could ease concerns about whether Apple (AAPL) will have enough components to meet global demand for the new iPhone.” The other two iPhone 5 screen manufacturers, LG Display (LPL) and Japan Display, both met their deadlines for shipping iPhone 5 screens according to the report. More →
Demand for the next-generation iPhone is expected to be huge but the Wall Street Journal today says that Apple (AAPL) may not be able to keep up because Japanese manufacturer Sharp (SCHAY) has fallen behind schedule in producing iPhone screens. Unnamed sources told the Journal that Sharp has delayed production of the screens due to “manufacturing difficulties” and doesn’t yet have a timetable for when the screens will ship. This is particularly critical for Apple because Sharp is just one of three companies that manufacture iPhone screens along with LG Display (LPL) and Japan Display, although the Journal does say that it is still “unclear whether the delay at Sharp could lead to supply problems for Apple.” More →
Foxconn (2317) is reportedly interested in doubling its planned stake in Sharp (SHCAY) from 9.9% to nearly 20%, according to a report from Japan’s economic journal The Nikkei. In March, Foxconn agreed to invest more than $800 million in the troubled Japanese company, a move that would see it become Sharp’s largest outside shareholder. The deal was to be finalized by March 2013, with Foxconn agreeing to pay 550 yen per share. The Taiwanese manufacturing giant is now asking Sharp to decrease the previously agreed upon price to 200 yen per share however, because its stock price has declined in recent months. While the Japanese company continues to struggle financially, allowing Foxconn to increase its stake in the company may not be its best bet. If Foxconn is able to increase its stake beyond 10%, it will reportedly have the ability to ask a court to dissolve Sharp, which would allow Foxconn to increase its voice in controlling the fate of one of Japan’s oldest companies. More →
Sharp (6753) reported a rough second quarter on Thursday, and the best way to lighten the blow from a massive $1.2 billion operating loss is to highlight new deals with the world’s most valuable company. Newly appointed Sharp president Takashi Okuda confirmed on Thursday that his company will be supplying display panels for Apple’s sixth iPhone, and he told reporters that the displays will begin shipping this month, Reuters said. The timing is in line with an earlier exclusive BGR report, which contradicted rumors out of the Far East and stated that Apple’s next-generation iPhone had not yet entered mass production. LG Display and Japan Display are also rumored to be supplying panels for the next iPhone, which will reportedly feature a larger 4-inch screen. Apple will unveil its new iPhone during a press conference on September 12th, where it will reportedly also take the wraps off the much rumored iPad mini and a new iPod nano. More →
Samsung (005930) may be getting most of its attention for smartphones these days, but the South Korean manufacturer is doing pretty well in the LCD TV market, too. According to the latest data from iSuppli, Samsung shipped 8.2 million LCD TVs in the first quarter of 2012, good for 19% of all LCD TV shipments and up from the 18% market share it held in the first quarter last year. Fellow South Korean company LG (066570) shipped the second-most LCD TVs on the quarter as its 5.8 million LCD TVs shipped accounted for 13% of all shipments worldwide in Q1 2012. iSuppli also reports that Samsung and LG were the only two companies to turn a profit from their LCD TV businesses with rivals Sony (SNE), Toshiba (6502) and Sharp (7653) all taking losses on their LCD TV divisions. Overall LCD shipments were down year-over-year, dropping from 44.6 million in Q1 2011 to 44.4 million in Q1 2012. More →