Sharp to slash 5,000 jobs, shift production focus

May 10, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Sharp Corp. will cut 5,000 jobs, slash the number of directors and advisory positions and shift its production focus under a three-year plan to fully recover from the 2008 global financial crisis.

Most of the job losses will come overseas, although the struggling electronics company, which currently employs 51,000 worldwide, will halve the number of employees at its main office in Osaka, according to Sharp’s midterm management plan obtained by The Asahi Shimbun.

The number of Sharp directors will be reduced from 12 to six, and the company’s payroll will have significantly fewer advisers who previously served as presidents or vice presidents, according to the plan for the three-year period ending March 2016. Sharp is expected to release the plan on May 14.

The company will also revise its regional sales strategies and focus more on small-sized panels for smartphones and other devices, which have more added value.

Through these measures, Sharp is forecasting annual sales exceeding 3 trillion yen ($30 billion), an operating profit of 180 billion yen and a net profit of 100 billion yen in fiscal 2015.

The figures of annual sales and net profit are similar to the ones achieved by Sharp in fiscal 2007, a year before the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008 triggered the global financial crisis.

The company’s goals for fiscal 2015 are lofty, considering the drastic decline of its business performances.

Its annual sales are expected to stand at 2.46 trillion yen in fiscal 2012, partly because of the decline in prices for television sets and liquid crystal display (LCD) panels. The company is also expected to post an operating loss of 155 billion yen and a net loss exceeding 500 billion yen.

Sharp has promised major creditor banks that it will slash a variety of costs to achieve net profits in fiscal 2013, the first year of the three-year period.

In the second and the third years, the company will concentrate more on profitable products and sales areas to increase revenue, recover its credit ratings and make it possible to again issue corporate bonds, according to the plan.

In March this year, Sharp concluded a capital alliance with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. in the LCD business, and plans to secure other long-term buyers of its LCD panels.

As for TV sales, Sharp will conduct more research on consumer preferences in specific regions. In the United States, for example, the company plans to increase production of large-sized TV sets, which are 70-inch type or bigger, and 4K TVs whose screen images are clearer.

Sharp will also market domestic appliances, including refrigerators and washing machines, in Southeast Asia based on regional demand.

The company is currently in negotiations to sell its TV factories in China and Malaysia to foreign manufacturers.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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