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Sharp's future in question even as iPhone displays begin to ship

Sharp's future in question even as iPhone displays begin to ship


Sharp's stock hits a 36-year low amid a waning TV industry. Partners and onlookers lose confidence even as the company ships a next-gen iPhone display to Apple.

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The stock price of Japanese television manufacturer Sharp closed at ¥192 after the company announced its quarterly losses of ¥138.4 billion (about $1.76 billion), or a 28 percent tumble to its lowest point in 36 years. Because of this steep and sudden decline in shareholder confidence, Hon Hai Precision Industries — better known as Foxconn — said that it plans to re-evaluate some of its existing investments in Sharp. This potential loss of funding may have been a key factor in Sharp's forecast for the fiscal year, which it now expects to yield a ¥250 billion (roughly $3.18 billion) loss.

Even in these circumstances, Foxconn is unlikely to abandon the struggling display company as it just began shipping the displays for Apple's new iPhone, which is rumored to be launched September 12th of this year. This news was delivered by Sharp president Takashi Okuda, who now needs to worry about both long-term funding goals and short term hurdles like a ¥200 billion bond that matures in September. The company has asked its lenders for a "back-up structure" to help it ride out long-term funding, but with increasing pressure from Korean competitors like Samsung and LG, the second half of 2012 may be just as financially unpleasant as the first.