Foxconn Seeing To Buy Sharp
Foxconn, the company which manufactures Apple's iPhone, has tabled a bid for struggling Japanese manufacturer Sharp which supplies displays for the iPhone. REUTERS

Sharp Corp, the Japanese manufacturer of electronic products, reported Friday a record net loss of 376.1 billion yen ($4.66 billion) in the first quarter of the year.

The company, faced with the decline in its mainstay liquid crystal display business, posted an operating loss of 37.6 billion yen ($464 million). It has forecast 18.7 percent fall in TV sale in the current fiscal year.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Sharp is planning to shift 1,000 employees in the liquid crystal display television, solar cell and mobile phone divisions to sections handling such products as mega solar power systems and light-emitting diodes. The labor union of the company has approved the plan, which is intended to support the corporation as it is faced with slump in operations.

Japanese companies such as Sharp, which was once a major player in the consumer electronics business, are facing tough times. The increased competition they are facing from rivals like Apple and Samsung along with the discouraging aspects such as strong yen and declining prices of TV are adding to their woes.

According to Thompson Reuters data, Sharp, Sony and Panasonic, the three Japanese TV manufacturers, are estimated to have lost 1.68 trillion yen ($20.76 billion) in the last fiscal year. The continuing crisis in Europe, the weakness in the US market and the strengthening of Japanese yen have hampered the growth of Japan's export-focused companies.

Job cuts are becoming a norm in Japan where firms are taking stringent action to trim costs and drastically refocus their businesses. NEC Corp said in January it was cutting 10,000 jobs while Sumco Corp said in February 1,300 jobs would be cut.

Earlier this month, Sony said that it was letting go 10,000 employees, a sixth of its total workforce, in an effort to concentrate resources on core business and bring the company back to green. The TV business, which is in poor health, is likely to absorb a significant amount of current job cuts.