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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Sharp Unveils Recovery Plan, Brings IGZO Panels To Notebooks

Sharp's board of directors have aproved the company's corporate strategy to achieve "recovery and growth" through a medium-term management plan for fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2015.

Since early 2000, Sharp has expanded its business with growth drivers, including LCD TVs and mobile handsets in Japan, while making a large investment in the LCD related business, aiming for further business growth. However, as the market was expanding, products including digital consumer appliances had commoditized quickly, creating a difficult position for Sharp, in the face of the growing presence of Korean competitor companies that had a high cost competitive edge. With the global economic slowdown after Lehman?s fall and the delay in taking action to change market demand after the termination of Eco-Point Program in Japan, Sharp's net sales have decreased following a peak in fiscal 2007.

As a result, burdened by the depreciation of the large-sum investment in LCD related business, Sharp has recorded a total net loss of 900 billion yen in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012. To overcome this situation, Sharp has set a corporate strategy and a medium-term management plan for fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2015 was established at the board of directors' meeting held today.

Sharp has set three basic strategies to transform corporate structure:

- Shift management resources to "advantageous market and fields"
- Exit closed innovation and aggressively utilize alliances
- Enforce executions by innovating governance systems

In addition, Sharp has requested that main banks have personnel with extensive knowledge and experience join Sharp's management. Sharp will continue to strive for business recovery with the cooperation of main banks. Sharp has decided to revamp its management composition effective from June 25, 2013.

Sharp was rescued last October by 360 billion yen in emergency loans from Mizuho Financial Group, Mitsubishi Financial Group and other lenders. Sharp will borrow a further 150 billion yen this year from its banks to help meet its near-term debt obligations, and will give the lenders a number of senior management positions.

The company's plan targets annual operating profit of 150 billion yen by the year to March 2016, helped by expanded screen shipments to Samsung.

The company also agreed to trim its workforce by 10,000 and seek buyers for overseas assets, including TV assembly plants in China, Malaysia and Mexico.

Partnership with Makita

Sharp also today announced that it as signed a basic agreement today to form a partnership with Makita Corporation.

The two companies will seek to expand their business scope by expanding the product line-up of Makita through incorporation of Sharp's technology, and by mutually utilizing each company's value chain including product planning, production and sales in the global market.

Sharp aims to enter into new business areas by collaboration with companies from different industries - from homes (house/rooftop) to premises (grounds). In the future, Sharp intends to develop further collaboration including in the robotics business which is one of Sharp's targeted new business fields.

Production of IGZO LCD Panels for Notebooks

Sharp will also begin production of three types of IGZO LCD panels that boast pixel densities among the highest in the industry.

These LCD panels are intended for use in notebook PCs and will come in three sizes: 11.6 inches, 14 inches, and 15.6 inches. Production is scheduled to begin in June 2013 at Sharp's Kameyama Plant No. 2. This new production allows Sharp to expand its lineup of IGZO LCD panels for notebook PCs, with the company having already started production of 13.3-inch IGZO panels.

IGZO technology enables smaller thin-film transistors and increased light transmittance. As a result, fine text can be rendered clearly, and images can be displayed realism. For example, the 14-inch panel boasts a pixel density of 262 ppi, which represents 1.67 times the number of pixels of full high definition. Increased light transmittance also means lower rates of energy consumption, with IGZO technology reducing the amount of power required to drive liquid crystals during the display of still images. These factors lead to greater energy efficiency and longer battery life on notebook PCs. IGZO technology is also compatible with stylus-input touchscreen functionality.

Sharp will work to further expand the range of applications using its IGZO LCD panels in products such as smartphones, tablet PCs, notebook PCs, and 4K displays that make the most of the super high resolution and energy efficiency of these panels.

Display size 11.6 inches 14 inches 15.6 inches   13.3 inches
Number of pixels 2,560 x 1,440
3,200 x 1,800
3,200 x 1,800
  2,560 x 1,440
Pixel density 253 ppi 262 ppi 235 ppi   221 ppi
Application Notebook PCs   Notebook PCs

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