Business / Corporate

Sharp back in 'normal mode' after buying back shares issued during crisis

Kyodo

Sharp Corp. said Tuesday it has returned to “normal mode” after completing the purchase of all preferred shares it issued to financial institutions during its crisis four years ago.

“We would like to report to all of you that our management has finally returned to normal mode and obtained a free hand,” Sharp CEO and Chairman Tai Jeng-wu said at its annual shareholders meeting in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.

The company issued preferred shares worth ¥200 billion ($1.87 billion) in total to Mizuho Bank and MUFG Bank in 2015 in a debt-for-equity swap bailout when it was on the brink of collapse due to slowing sales of liquid crystal display panels.

Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. bought Sharp in August 2016, but the Japanese company’s preferred shares issued to the banks weighed on its balance sheet as the shares pay higher dividend yields in place of voting rights.

“Sharp will change into a global brand,” said Tai, as the company boasts what it calls its cutting-edge technologies in high-end 8K ultrahigh-definition TVs and 5G next-generation wireless telecommunications systems.

The company is looking for new areas to drive profitability after it ditched its initial target of achieving ¥3.25 trillion in sales in fiscal 2019 through next March due partly to a slowdown in television sales in China.

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