Sharp jumps on credit, iPhone reports

Bloomberg and AFP, TOKYO

Thu, May 09, 2013 - Page 15

Sharp Corp, the unprofitable maker of Aquos TVs, rose the most in three weeks in Tokyo trading after media reports it will get an increased credit line from lenders and supply Apple Inc’s new iPhone.

The stock surged 6.3 percent to ¥369 at the close of trade, the biggest gain since April 15.

Sharp, which has ¥200 billion (US$2.02 billion) of convertible bonds due this year, has been seeking investments from rivals and selling assets as its cash pile shrinks amid continued losses in its LCD business. The Osaka-based company, which is due to release its mid-term plan on Tuesday, has ¥360 billion of loans due on June 30.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc’s banking units will set up the new credit line, which is higher than a previous ¥100 billion plan, the Nikkei Shimbun said without attributing the source of the information. The funds will help the company repay the bonds while the banks will extend deadlines for the loans due next month, the newspaper reported.

Sharp will start producing LCDs for Apple’s new iPhone as early as next month, the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported, without saying where it got the information.

The 2015 operating-profit target for Sharp will be set between ¥130 billion and ¥140 billion, the Sankei Shimbun reported, without saying where it got the information.

“These reports are positive for Sharp’s financing and production,” Mito Securities Co Keita Wakabayashi analyst said. “But the news is not enough to solve the problem Sharp encounters. The market simply reacted to the positive news.”

Sharp said it was not the source of the report on its mid-term plan. The company is not in a position to comment on lenders’ plans, spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said by telephone, declining to comment on the Apple supply report.

Separately, Toshiba Corp’s shares fell 5 percent to ¥512 yesterday after a report said the Japanese technology and engineering conglomerate likely fell short of its operating profit forecast for the last fiscal year.

The Nikkei said Toshiba’s earnings would come in flat from the previous year at about ¥200 billion, missing its earlier projection for the year to March by about ¥60 billion.

Sales in the period likely declined 5 percent to ¥5.8 trillion, the Nikkei said, without citing sources.

Toshiba is to report its full-year earnings later yesterday.

“That is not what we have announced,” a Toshiba spokesman said in reference to the Nikkei report.