Hon Hai could help to rescue struggling Sharp

Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co is considering joining efforts to help rescue Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp, the company said in a statement.

Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co is considering joining efforts to help rescue Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp, the company said in a statement.

Hon Hai's willingness to "participate" in Sharp has never been limited to investing, but could include technology licensing transfer and other forms of cooperation, according to the statement from Hon Hai, which is also known as Foxconn.

The world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, Hon Hai bought a 38 percent stake in a Sharp Corp TV panel plant in Sakai, Japan in 2012. It has been investing in its display business to diversify from low-margin contract manufacturing.

The statement came after Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou, in an interview with Toyo Keizai business magazine, expressed an interest in joining a bailout of Sharp. The Japanese company is on course for its third annual net loss in four years and is seeking to secure a second major bailout since 2012.

The weekly, in a preview of its Monday edition, quoted Gou as saying he would make the offer to Sharp and its main banks as early as this month.

The company confirmed that in the interview Gou said he would need to see details of a restructuring plan and that Hon Hai's participation would also be contingent on support from other Japanese manufacturers.

Sources have said Sharp's President Kozo Takahashi is now negotiating terms of a new rescue plan, including restructuring, with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, part of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, and Mizuho Financial Group Inc's Mizuho Bank.

Sharp and Hon Hai, signed an agreement in March 2012 to form a capital and strategic partnership under which Hon Hai would consider taking a 9.9 percent stake in Sharp for 550 yen a share.

Those talks eventually collapsed after Sharp's share price plunged in the face of larger-than-expected losses. Sharp instead received a bailout from its banks and sold equity stakes to Qualcomm Inc and South Korea's Samsung Electronics .

A Sharp spokeswoman said the company would resume funding negotiations with Hon Hai if Hon Hai were still willing to pay 550 yen per share as it previously offered. She said Hon Hai had not asked to resume talks.

Weaker-than-expected smartphone demand in China and aggressive competition from rival Japan Display have derailed Sharp's recovery efforts.

Sharp will likely cut 12 percent of its workforce in a global restructuring expected to cost more than $1.7 billion, a person familiar with the plan told Reuters on Thursday.

Reuters

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