Sharp to sell off U.S. solar subsidiary

JIJI

Sharp Corp. has started procedures to sell its U.S. solar power unit, Recurrent Energy LLC, according to sources.

The ailing electronics maker aims to sell the California-based company by the end of March 2013 for around ¥10 billion to ¥20 billion, in what would be Sharp’s first sale of a major subsidiary during ongoing restructuring efforts, the sources said Thursday.

Sharp, which hopes to return to the black in the first quarter of 2013 by scaling back its loss-making solar power operations, is already working to find a buyer for Recurrent Energy through a U.S. investment bank, according to the sources.

U.S. and Asian power companies and investment funds are likely to show interest in Recurrent Energy, which designs and builds power plants mainly in North America.

Sharp acquired Recurrent Energy for $305 million (about ¥24 billion) in 2010. But the subsidiary is struggling amid intensifying competition, mainly from Chinese competitors.

The electronics giant is also considering the sale of its liquid crystal display TV plants in Mexico, China and Malaysia to Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and other firms as part of streamlining measures.

NEC raises forecast

Kyodo

NEC Corp. said Friday it has raised its earnings forecast for the April-September first half due to active demand at home.

The electronics maker now expects a group operating profit of ¥47 billion, against ¥1 billion in the forecast it issued in July, on sales of ¥1.448 trillion, up from ¥1.400 trillion.

For the half year, NEC expects a group net profit of ¥8 billion in a turnaround from its earlier forecast for a loss of ¥24 billion.

In addition to active information technology investment by companies in Japan, steady progress in business restructuring and cost-cutting efforts helped improve the earnings, NEC said, adding that the sale of liquid crystal display patents also contributed.