Tue, Apr 16, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Sharp stock jumps 10% on report of Pioneer sale plans


Shares in struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp rocketed 10.44 percent to ¥370 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after a weekend report that it plans to sell its entire 9.2 percent stake in Pioneer.

Shares in Pioneer climbed 4.28 percent to ¥219.

Sharp, the largest shareholder in Pioneer, aims to sell the 30 million shares in a lump-sum deal as early as this month to companies that can expect synergies with Pioneer’s operations, the Nikkei Shimbun reported.

It has been holding negotiations with potential buyers — manufacturers in the automobile and medical device industries — and is believed to have narrowed down the list to just a few, the business daily said.

The shares were worth ¥6.3 billion (US$64 million) based on Pioneer’s stock price as of Friday. Sharp plans to use gains on the sale to help repay debts, the Nikkei said.

“The sale will obviously be a boon to Sharp in its cash-raising quest,” said Toshiyuki Kanayama, market analyst at Monex Inc, adding that news on Sharp have been more positive of late.

The Nikkei last week reported Sharp’s second-half earnings figures would be better than expected, reaching more than ¥20 billion in group operating profit against its profit projection of ¥13.8 billion.

Sharp became the top shareholder in its financially troubled Pioneer as part of a broader tie-up in 2007 in response to growing competition.

At that time Sharp had seen four straight years of record profits thanks to fast-growing sales of flat-screen televisions, while Pioneer was having a hard time after being saddled with overcapacity in plasma display panels.

Pioneer is expected to keep holding 10 million Sharp shares, representing a 0.8 percent stake, the Nikkei said.

Sharp did not confirm the report, saying there had been no decision on its holdings.

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