I don't know the particulars of Renasas, but merging the semi companies of some of the old keiretsu was a matter of survival. Once labor costs started to rise in Japan, the vertically integrated electronics manufacturing business model didn't work any more. It is a huge cultural change from a captive parts supply group to an open market semi company. There are a lot of very smart people working at Renesas, but it is possible the cultural change was too big to overcome.
Kris, read my lips, Renesas is a joke from the start, and it will continue to be a joke. It is a company who sole existence is to keep the pre-existing employees as much and as long as possible. While many of its products are competitive on a worldwide basis, many are NOT and the management simply do not have the gut and the strong wills to change the tide!
Losses are due to two things: Expenses too high and/or revenues too low. I know, thank you Captain Obvious.
I think that on the revenue side, they are not making enough of an effort to get the "long tail" customers - the smaller organizations that use 100K chips a year or less. There are only so many whales in the ocean. Eventually you need to eat minnows.
Also, their ecosystem needs work. A recent survey showed them at the bottom of the heap in this category.
Japan used to have massive vertical integration, low costs, "salaryman" culture of unpaid overtime. Samsung enjoys these advantages now. This business model does not work when you have high costs and you need to be more nimble and innovative.