ELECTRONICS GIANTS Sharp and Panasonic are forecasting multi-billion pound losses, with Sharp questioning its ability to stay in business.
Sharp, which reportedly is supplying Apple with screens for the Iphone 5, has been suffering for years following its heavy investment in LCD television manufacturing plants, and yesterday the firm forecast an annual loss of £3.5bn and said it is having a hard time getting loans. Rival Japanese firm Panasonic went one better, forecast a full year loss of £5.9bn and said it is trying to restructure its business.
While Panasonic's immediate figures are worse than those of Sharp, it is Sharp that has bet the farm on LCD production and is in a significantly worse situation. The firm's credit rating was cut to junk status earlier this year and it has been trying to do a deal with Hon Hai for additional investment.
The firm said that the difficulty of raising funds meant that it could face bankruptcy, though the firm said it is still working on collaborating with Hon Hai for LCD production. Hon Hai's chairman had requested a seat on Sharp's board as part of any investment deal, and given Sharp's current state it might have to oblige.
Panasonic on the other hand said it will continue with restructuring plans and its forecast of increased losses is due to costs associated to restructuring activities. However both Sharp and Panasonic reported falling sales. suggesting that their troubles might not be resolved by simply rearranging the boardroom chairs. µ