• Kyodo

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Sharp Corp. is considering a massive U.S. investment to build a liquid crystal display panel plant, a senior executive said Wednesday, in an apparent attempt to demonstrate its contribution to the U.S. economy ahead of summit talks between Japanese and U.S. leaders.

Sharp, restructuring under Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., has notified the Japanese government of the plan, the executive said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are set to meet Friday.

Late last month, Hon Hai, better known by its trade name Foxconn, revealed a U.S. investment plan worth ¥800 billion ($7.14 billion), according to reports. Sharp and prospective Japanese partners would lead the plan.

The first major Japanese electronics firm to come under foreign ownership plans to urge other Japanese companies, such as makers of LCD panel manufacturing equipment, to participate in the investment, which is expected to total several hundred billion yen.

“We want to start construction in the first half of this year,” the senior executive said, signaling his hope that production will start by 2020.

Sharp has secured a combined new loan quota of ¥300 billion from its creditor banks — Mizuho Bank and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

In December, Sakai Display Products Corp., a group firm jointly owned by Sharp and Hon Hai based in Osaka Prefecture, said it will build a large-scale LCD plant in China with an investment of up to ¥1 trillion.

Sharp said last week that it moved back into the black in the October-December period for the first time in nine quarters due mainly to streamlining logistics and cutting procurement costs with Hon Hai.

The company also narrowed its full-year loss outlook to ¥37.2 billion, compared with ¥41.8 billion projected in November.

Meanwhile, the company revised upward its consolidated earnings forecast for the current business year through March as its main businesses except solar panels are recovering.

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