Sharp may sell overseas plants to Hon Hai

Kyodo

Struggling Sharp Corp. is thinking of selling its overseas LCD television plants to Taiwanese partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., sources said Saturday.

Assembly facilities for liquid crystal display TVs in Mexico, Poland, China and Malaysia are believed to be subject to the sale, according to the sources.

Sharp is combing through its asset list and plans to make a final decision on the sale by the end of September, they said.

Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, agreed in March to take a 9.9 percent stake in Sharp for ¥550 per share, which would have bolstered its capital by around ¥66.9 billion.

But a plunge in Sharp’s stock price following the disclosure this month of huge losses appears likely to change the terms of the deal. On Friday, Sharp shares were still down and closed at around ¥209, although this represented a 9.4 percent rise from the day before.

The two companies are in talks to lower the share acquisition price, and Sharp may be hoping the asset sale would help cover any drop in Hon Hai’s investment after the share price is revised.

Sharp can also expect to reduce overhead costs after the selloff.

The company badly needs to spruce up a weak balance sheet loaded with debt that had ballooned to some ¥1.25 trillion as of June 30. In September 2013, Sharp is scheduled to repay around ¥200 billion raised through a convertible bond issue.