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Jun 30, 2015

Sony to raise nearly $4 billion, ramp up sensors business to anchor turnaround

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Sony Corp plans to raise nearly $4 billion via new shares and bonds to plough into image sensors as it reinvents itself as a niche component maker, pulling back from consumer goods like TVs that dragged it into losses.

In Sony’s first new share issue in 26 years, the firm said on Tuesday it expects to raise 321 billion yen ($2.62 billion) from a public stock offering after a rally that has seen its market value double in a year. It will raise a further 119 billion yen from a convertible bond issue to fund a boost in sensor output capacity at its advanced plants in Japan.

Jun 25, 2015

Toshiba may add more outside directors after accounting irregularities

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toshiba Corp may appoint more outside board members to improve oversight of its accounts which it is now investigating after finding irregularities, its CEO said on Thursday.

Toshiba has not been able to close its books for the year that ended in March as a third-part committee it hired probes its book-keeping practices. It has said it likely overstated profits by around 54 billion yen ($436 million) in recent years.

Jun 23, 2015

Sharp shareholders re-elect CEO, approve bailout to secure survival

OSAKA, Japan, June 23 (Reuters) – Sharp Corp’s
shareholders re-elected CEO Kozo Takahashi and approved plans
for a second bank bailout on Tuesday, backing the electronics
company’s strategy to survive a deep downturn in its troubled
display business amid fierce competition.

Chief Executive Takahashi was re-elected at the end of the
annual general meeting in Osaka despite disquiet among investors
that his restructuring efforts, including 5,000 job cuts and the
sale of its headquarters, did not go far enough.

Jun 18, 2015

Sony, Panasonic cling to TVs, betting on halo effect of premium sets

TOKYO, June 19 (Reuters) – Japan’s once-mighty electronics
makers have lost billions of dollars from TVs but Sony Corp
and Panasonic Corp won’t quit, saying
retreating from the world’s living rooms would close the door to
more promising businesses.

Consumer electronics account for a shrinking portion of
income after restructuring focused Sony on gaming and image
sensors and Panasonic on electric car batteries. But TVs remain
among their best-known products.

Jun 14, 2015

Japan Inc faces stormy AGMs in governance shake-up

TOKYO, June 15 (Reuters) – Japan’s normally sleepy
shareholder meetings are set for a shake-up this year as a new
corporate governance code encourages disgruntled investors to
speak out and forces companies to take demands for better
returns more seriously.

Combined with a separate “stewardship” code, which holds
fund managers accountable for how they vote, the new rules mean
CEOs of poor market performers like electronics maker Sharp Corp
may face unusually strong dissent in the proxy season
starting on Tuesday.

Jun 9, 2015

Sony aims for more clients, 20 percent sales growth in image sensors

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sony Corp aims to diversify its client base for image sensors beyond top customer Apple Inc, even as it expects orders from the iPhone maker to help lift sales about 20 percent this fiscal year, a senior executive said on Tuesday.

Sensors have emerged as one of Sony’s strongest products in recent years as its TV and mobile operations struggle. While the Japanese company has fallen behind Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in smartphones, its sensors are used in those rivals’ handsets.

Jun 8, 2015

Panasonic to send hundreds to Tesla Gigafactory, step up auto investment

OSAKA, Japan, June 8 (Reuters) – Japanese electronics group
Panasonic Corp will dispatch hundreds of employees to
Tesla Motors Inc’s Nevada Gigafactory from this autumn
to get ready to make lithium-ion batteries for electric cars at
the plant from next year.

Panasonic’s partnership with ambitious automaker Tesla is a
key part of a drastic restructuring in recent years to end
losses, squeezed by cheaper Asian rivals. The firm has exited
unprofitable product lines like smartphones and plasma TVs,
pivoting instead to energy-saving home systems and investing
nearly $500 million to develop auto business this year alone.

May 29, 2015

Toshiba says accounting probe to take until mid-July

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toshiba Corp will file its annual report up to two months later than usual as an ongoing independent investigation into accounting irregularities will likely last until mid-July, the Japanese conglomerate said on Friday.

Toshiba has not been able to close its books for the year that ended in March because of the investigation into its book-keeping, which it says likely led to profits being overstated by at least 50 billion yen ($415 million) in recent years.

May 15, 2015

At Sharp, decline marked by over-confidence, drift

TOKYO (Reuters) – In private conversations early last year, executives at Japanese display maker Sharp Corp dubbed their new client “winning horse”, reckoning fast-growing Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi would be a sure and lucrative bet.

Within months, however, Sharp found it was sharing Xiaomi revenue as upstart rival Japan Display also struck a deal to supply the Chinese firm with its “in-cell” displays.

May 14, 2015

Sharp gains $1.9 billion bailout but restructuring steps disappoint

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Sharp Corp said it had secured a $1.9 billion bailout, its second major bank-led rescue in three years, after falling deep into the red as its smartphone display business was battered by competition from Asian rivals.

But while new restructuring measures will include 5,000 job cuts or 10 percent of its global workforce as well as the sale of its headquarters, the steps were seen as not going far enough.