Sharp Posts Big Loss on Smartphone Downturn, Restructuring Costs

Sharp Posts Big Loss on Smartphone Downturn, Restructuring Costs

Japanese electronics giant Sharp on Friday posted a whopping six-month net loss of nearly $700 million (roughly Rs. 4,570 crores), hit by restructuring costs and a slump in demand for its smartphone screens.

The liquid-crystal display giant, which is key supplier to Apple and other mobile phone makers, singled out a downturn in smartphone-screen demand in China for its latest set of poor results.

Sharp warned of the loss this week, reigniting concerns about the future of the Aquos-brand maker, which has repeatedly appeared on the brink of bankruptcy in recent years as it trudged ahead with a painful restructuring.

"The situation surrounding Sharp is still severe - they have strong technology, but their finances are extremely weak," said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research institute in Tokyo.

Sharp posted an JPY 83.6 billion net loss in the half-year through September, down from a small profit a year earlier, while revenue fell 3.6 percent to JPY 1.28 trillion.

Earlier this year, Sharp said it was cutting 10 percent of its 49,000 global workforce as part of a turnaround plan intended to keep it afloat after posting a bigger-than-expected $1.86 billion (roughly Rs. 12,140 crores) annual loss.

Sharp earlier announced the sale of the building that houses its Osaka headquarters and issued shares to its banks, in an apparent lifeline that underscored the company's desperate situation.

The once-mighty firm, like rivals Sony and Panasonic, has been working to move past years of gaping deficits, partly caused by steep losses in its television unit.

The trio were hammered by competition from lower-cost rivals, particularly from South Korea and Taiwan.

But, unlike Sharp, Sony and Panasonic booked soaring profits this week in a sign that efforts to fix their tattered balance sheets were finally paying off.

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