• Kyodo

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Sharp Corp. says 2,960 workers at its offices in Japan have applied for a voluntary retirement program set up as part of its efforts to turn around its slumping business, far exceeding the 2,000 it initially targeted.

The electronics maker said Tuesday the cost of the restructuring measure will total around ¥25.3 billion, which has already been reflected in its earnings forecasts for the business year through March 31.

The applicants will retire Dec. 15, it said. The number of applicants account for more than 5 percent of a total of around 54,800 employees at the company and its major consolidated subsidiaries within Japan.

The company expects to post its largest-ever group net loss of ¥450 billion for the current business year, due mainly to its flagging television business.

Meanwhile, a corporate senior vice president of Fujitsu Ltd. denied that it is in talks with Sharp over a plan to integrate their mobile phone businesses, as mentioned in Sharp’s restructuring plan submitted to financial institutions in September.

Fujitsu is “not in negotiations” with Sharp over such a plan, Nobuo Otani said at a news conference, adding he has heard that Sharp says it may consider such a plan if it sees bleak prospects for the mobile phone business.

Sharp said in the restructuring plan that it may approach Fujitsu as early as the end of March with a proposal for integrating their operations if its domestic share and profit level fail to clear targets.

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