Tue, May 14, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Sharp to name Takahashi to replace Okuda: ‘Nikkei’

Bloomberg

Sharp executive vice president Kozo Takahashi speaks at a press event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Jan. 7.

Photo: AFP

Sharp Corp will promote executive vice president Kozo Takahashi to president, replacing Takashi Okuda, the Nikkei Shimbun reported.

Okuda, who became president in April last year, will replace Mikio Katayama as chairman, the newspaper said.

Sharp was not the source of the information, said Miyuki Nakayama, a spokeswoman at the Osaka-based company.

Okuda, 59, has sold company assets and mortgaged its headquarters to raise funds after losses on TVs and LCDs drove Sharp to a record ¥376 billion (US$3.7 billion) net loss in the year that ended in March last year.

Takahashi, 58, is currently in charge of the company’s products business group, which includes TV sets and mobile phones.

Sharp was scheduled to report earnings yesterday for the year tht ended on March 31. The company is forecasting a record loss of ¥450 billion.

Sharp’s shares gained 12 percent to close at ¥506 in Tokyo trading yesterday, extending gains to 58 percent over the past six trading days. The shares plunged 55 percent last year.

Takahashi joined Sharp in April 1980 and previously headed the health and environmental products division as well as the company’s US operations, according to company filings.

Sharp, which has ¥200 billion of convertible bonds due this year and ¥360 billion of loans due on June 30, has been seeking investments from rivals and selling assets as its cash pile shrinks.

Sharp sold ¥10.4 billion of shares to Samsung Electronics Co, Asia’s largest electronics maker, in March.

Okuda said on Feb. 1 that the company aims to post net income in the year ending March next year. Sharp estimated operating profit will reach ¥13.8 billion in the six months to March 31, rebounding from a 168.9 billion loss in the first half.

Separately, Panasonic Corp’s shares surged the most in three months after an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG estimated declines in the Japanese currency may add as much as ¥30 billion to earnings this year.

Japan’s second-largest television maker rose 7.6 percent to close at ¥806, the biggest gain since Feb. 4. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.2 percent.

Panasonic last week forecast net income of ¥50 billion in the 12 months ending March, compared with a loss of ¥754 billion a year earlier, as the maker of Lumix cameras restructures to revive profit from TVs and semiconductors. The Osaka-based company based its projection on an exchange rate of ¥85 per US dollar, compared with ¥101.94 at 10:41am.

“The current forex rates imply an upside of ¥30 billion,” Shunsuke Tsuchiya, an analyst at Credit Suisse in Tokyo who recommends buying the stock, said in a report to clients.

Sony Corp, Japan’s biggest TV maker, rose as much as 6.8 percent while Sharp, the third-largest, jumped as much as 16 percent.

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