Sharp ponders options to survive, isn't in Intel talks
By Tim Kelly
LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Sharp Corp is considering new ways to shore up its crumbling finances but is not talking with Intel Corp at the moment about any investment from the U.S. chipmaker, a senior executive from the Japanese company said on Monday.
Industry analysts had speculated that Intel and Sharp - which supplies screens to Apple Inc for its latest iPhone - were in investment discussions, but executives said on Monday the pair were not in talks "at this moment."
Sharp is fighting for survival after years of losses. Like other Japanese brands that spearheaded the 1970s electronics boom, it is wilting under stiffening competition and a strong yen. In November, it said it may not be able to survive on its own after full-year net losses to doubled to $5.6 billion.
To repay short-term debt and stave off failure, the maker of Aquos televisions snagged a $4.4 billion bailout in October from its banks. But it is now exploring further options.
"Our finances have been weakened considerably and we are considering ways to deal with that," Sharp Vice President Kozo Takahashi told reporters at a roundtable briefing on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Sharp's shareholder-equity ratio at the end of September was 9.9 percent - half the minimum level generally considered stable by investors. Takahashi described that only as "low."
Takahashi's comments on Monday indicated that no new agreement was imminent. He did not elaborate on Sharp's funding options, except to say that any future cash injections might not be limited to just share offers.