Japan’s investment in Sharp

Japan state fund open to discussing investment in Sharp

The Innovation Network Corp of Japan, a government-backed fund that has rescued loss-making electronics companies, is open to discussing a possible investment in Sharp Corp if the company seeks help, INCJ’s president said on Tuesday.

“We are ready to talk with Sharp if the company needs funds for its growth strategy and meets our investment policy,” INCJ President Mikihide Katsumata told Reuters in an interview.

Once a highly profitable manufacturer of premium TVs that supplies screens for Apple Inc’s iPhone, Osaka-based Sharp has come under heavy pricing pressure from Asian rivals.

INCJ is the top shareholder of Japan Display Inc <6740 T>, the world’s largest maker of liquid crystal displays for smartphones and tablets and a rival for Apple’s business.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters over the weekend that the fund was considering a range of options for Sharp, including direct investment and teaming up with Japan Display.

Katsumata did not indicate what possibilities the fund would consider with Sharp.

A Sharp spokesman declined to comment on Katsumata’s remarks and reiterated that his company is considering various options for its LCD business.

Sharp is desperate for funds to stay competitive in the global LCD market, after posting a 222 billion yen ($1.85 billion) loss in the year to March when it lost orders to rivals. The industry is struggling with slowing sales to China’s mobile phone market.

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