TOKYO, Aug 18: Japan’s embattled Sharp is considering cutting thousands of jobs in addition to its current plan of slashing 5,000 jobs to repair its disintegrating balance sheet, a report said Saturday.

As the struggling electronics maker decided to cut thousands more jobs, its main banks are likely to provide bridge loans of about 60 billion yen to shore up Sharp’s cash flow, the Mainichi Shimbun reported, without citing sources. A separate report by the Yomiuri Shimbun said on Saturday it is considering a sale of the land in western Japan where its key Sakai plant is located — with a book value of 38.1 billion yen — to institutional investors in a bid to plug a gaping hole in its balance sheet.

Sharp also plans to sell its building in Tokyo with the book value of 42.2 billion yen to its business partner Hon Hai, the Yomiuri said. The reports came after shares in Sharp jumped on Friday following a frenzy of reports that said it would sell key operations and court new investment. On Friday, the Nikkei business daily said Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision wanted to double its planned stake in Sharp to 20 per cent. In March, the pair announced a deal that would see Hon Hai, which makes iPhones and iPads in China, buy 10 per cent of Sharp, which makes a range of products including Aquos-brand televisions and office copiers.

The Nikkei added that Sharp is mulling a spin-off of a plant in central Japan, which makes LCD panels for smartphones and tablet computers, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Sharp shares ended 5.14 per cent higher at 184 yen in Tokyo on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, the Nikkei also said Sharp would pull out of copiers and air conditioners to focus on its more competitive liquid crystal display (LCD) division in a bid to repair a gaping hole in its balance sheet.

The Osaka-based firm suffered a bloodletting earlier this month, with its shares diving to 40-year lows in Tokyo, after it reported enormous quarterly losses and warned of more red ink to come.

A Sharp spokesman denied the Nikkei reports, but said “it is true that we are considering selling some assets including a Tokyo building as well as some plants around the world that are now assembling television sets.”—AFP

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