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September 25, 2017

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Japan's Sharp to shake up Europe business after media slight

TOKYO--Sharp said Friday it was considering an overhaul of its sluggish European business after a major daily said the Japanese electronics giant would pull the plug on its home appliance unit on the continent.

Shares in the struggling firm jumped 2.10 percent in an initial response to a report in the Nikkei business daily before easing slightly to end 0.90 percent higher at 336 yen.

The reported move would see the vast company — working to recover from years of huge losses — cut about 300 staff, or 10 percent of its European workforce, the Nikkei said.

Among the changes, the maker of Aquos brand electronics plans to abandon its European television business as it bleeds tens of millions of dollars a year, it added.

The Osaka-based company launched Polish production of liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs in 2007, but has only won a minimal market share in Europe, the daily noted.

Sharp may outsource European TV sales to Taiwan's TPV Technology and has also proposed selling the Polish factory to the Asian home electronics company, the report said.

Sharp is also in talks with Turkey's Vestel over its microwave oven and home appliance business in Europe, the Nikkei said. It added the firm is eyeing an exit from building solar power stations with a 3.0 billion yen (US$29.4 million) sale of its share of the joint venture to Italian partner Enel group.

In a statement Friday, Sharp acknowledged that it is "doing various studies on restructuring operations in Europe, but nothing has been decided at the moment."

Sharp is a major exporter that generates about 60 percent of its sales abroad, but the firm shifting its focus to richer Asian and North American markets, the Nikkei said.

European revenue accounted for only eight percent of total sales in the most recent fiscal year, it added.

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