Business / Corporate

Japan Display CEO shows confidence in turnaround with forecast for profit in second half

Kyodo

Japan Display Inc. President and CEO Minoru Kikuoka said Thursday his company is expected to be profitable in the second half of the current business year, which runs through March, with its new OLED products projected to reach the market later this year.

Kikuoka, who was promoted from chief financial officer last month, said the company aims to return to the black following a restructuring of its workforce, through about 1,200 job cuts via a voluntary early retirement program conducted earlier this year.

“I have been more and more confident about the turnaround of our business in the second half of the current business year,” he said in an interview.

In the April-June period Japan Display logged a group net loss of ¥83.27 billion, and slipped into negative net worth amid falling demand for smartphones.

In the last fiscal year, which ended in March, the company incurred a group net loss for the fifth straight year, affected by declining demand from Apple Inc.

To jump-start its business, Japan Display had agreed to receive a capital injection of up to ¥80 billion ($734 million) from a consortium of China’s Harvest Tech Investment Management Co. and Hong Kong’s Oasis Management Co.

However, the struggling panel-maker said last month that Harvest had retracted its offer of financial aid while stressing that the firm had agreed to receive up to $430 million from Oasis and its customers, including Apple, by November.

“I would like to finalize the $430 million rescue plan by the end of this month following negotiations with our sponsors,” said Kikuoka.

Kikuoka said he will use the third-party money to mass-produce new OLED products in a bid to avoid possible damage to the company’s balance sheet.

He also said the company would not rely solely on OLED panels to drag itself from the red, as “we are confident in our technology, but nobody knows what the market will look like after 2021.”

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