Sharp restructures for Covid-19 and US-China trade war

Sharp restructures for Covid-19 and US-China trade war

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Sharp is restructuring to address the dual challenges of Covid-19 and a looming US-China trade war.

The company, which since 2016 has been majority owned by contract manufacturer Foxconn, spun off its displays business this week and is focussing on sales in Japan and China. This follows the acquisition of the last 20 percent of Toshiba’s laptop business earlier this week to take full ownership of the line, now called Dynabook.

The sales operation has been reorganised into three divisions covering Japan, greater China and the rest of the world, including the US and Europe.

The company says it has weathered the Covid-19 pandemic with its production sites in China and around the world returning to normal, although the business systems had been badly hit.

The company has three divisions, focussing on ‘Smart Life’ such as solar panels, 8K ecosystem of high resolution TVs and the business systems. It has four manufacturing plants in Europe, as well as R&D Labs in Oxford, UK. 

The sales companies have been reorganised to focus on Japan and China. “Under a new business structure we are responding to changes stemming form Covid-19 and US-China trade friction,” said the company.

It is spinning out its display business into Sharp Display Technology which will complete by 1st October. The company has been facing an investigation by the ITC in the US over its TV business, and the separation will also minimise the impact of trade tarrifs. It is also spinning out its camera module business. The laser semiconductor business remains within the company.

The first quarter of 2020 saw turnover of $5.17bn, up 3.5 percent from $5.14bn in Q1 2019, with a profit of $90m. The company is forecasting turnover up slightly to $23.5bn for the full year, from $22.7bn for the year to Mar 31st 2020.

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