Sharp, a key supplier of displays for Apple – has posted an annual net loss of $1.9 billion. While there were doubts the company could continue operating, it has been able to carry on, at least for the short term, via investments by banks.
Sharp blamed the loss on competition from cheaper Chinese smartphone LCD panels, as well as past restructuring charges, according to the Financial Times. The company has in fact announced a new set of restructuring efforts, including laying off 10 percent of its workers, among them 3,500 people in Japan. It will also be selling off its head office in western Japan.
Sharp received a 200 billion yen (approximately $1.7 billion USD) infusion from Mizuho and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in a debt-for-equity swap. The company will also have access to an additional 25 billion yen ($209.9 million) fund backed by the banks.
Sharp hopes to post an operating profit of 80 billion yen ($671.8 million) in the next fiscal year, and is hoping to return to a net profit in fiscal 2017.
Sharp is a major partner of Apple, providing displays for the company, along with LG and Samsung. Sharp was the first to build LCD panels using IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) technology back in 2012. Apple is said to be using IGZO panels in the much-rumored 12.9-inch “iPad Pro,” sourcing panels from Sharp, as well as LG and Samsung.