LCD PANEL MAKER Sharp has had its credit rating cut to junk status by the Standard and Poor's rating agency.
Sharp, which invested heavily during the LCD television boom in the mid 2000s, is now paying the price as demand for televisions slumps across the board. Now Standard and Poor's has bestowed the ignominy of lowering Sharp's credit rating to BB+, putting it into what's called junk status.
Standard and Poor's also warned that Sharp has weak cash flow and is facing worsening market conditions, two things that will not endear it to investors. It said, "Sharp's liquidity position has weakened, and the company is highly dependent on short-term borrowings in light of weak internal cash flow and a less favourable funding environment."
Sharp has had a troubled year and earlier this week announced that it will lay off 2,000 employees in Japan, as its LCD business simply cannot support itself. Standard and Poor's said that unless Sharp's fortunes improve, the firm could be hit with another credit rating downgrade.
Standard and Poor's said, "We may consider lowering the ratings if Sharp's earnings in (the year to March 2013) and prospects for its recovery deteriorate even further or the company's financing environment and relationships with credit banks and strategic partners worsen."
Sharp is rumoured to be making screens for Apple's next Iphone, however if that deal hasn't gone through, then given its worsening financials and troubling credit rating, it could find it hard to solicit big orders and borrow cash for retooling its factories. µ