LONDON – Japan's troubled Sharp Corp. has mortgaged nearly all of its domestic factories and offices, including one making liquid crystal displays for Apple products, to secure loans, according to a Reuters report.
Sharp has been trying since March to forge a partnership with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. (also known as Foxconn), the world's largest contract manufacturer and a supplier of manufacturing services to consumer electronics giant Apple. However, a bail-out plan that included investment from Hon Hai in return for a transfer of LCD technology has become drawn out as Sharp's share price has fallen leading to a possible need for renegotiation of the terms. With the deal in limbo Sharp's need for cash has apparently forced the latest move.
Property offered up as collateral for up to 150 billion yen (about $1.8 billion) of credit from Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. includes "almost all the business sites owned by Sharp in Japan," Reuters quoted Sharp spokeswoman, Miyuki Nakayama, as saying.
Sharp has its headquarters in Osaka and offices in Tokyo as well as 11 factories in Japan. These include a factory where Sharp is making the display for the forthcoming Apple iPhone, expected to launch on September 12.
Earlier this year it was revealed that Sharp Corp., had negotiated a buy-in by Hon Hai in return for the transfer of some LCD technology to Foxconn plants in China. The plan was for Sharp to transfer the company's advanced, small-to-medium LCD panel technology to a Hon Hai fab under construction in China’s Sichuan province. Hon Hai was expected to pay about $850 million in return for a 9.98 percent stake in the company. As well as speaking about a possible renegotiation of the terms Terry Gou, the outspoken chairman of Hon Hai, has reportedly made comments that it is an essential part of any deal to save Sharp that he be given some level of control of the company.
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