Japanese electronics company, Sharp Corp., will stop manufacturing solar panels in its United States plant by the end of March. The move is part of a strategy by the company to recover from heavy losses across its line of businesses. The move will slash two-thirds of the company’s workforce in the U.S., equivalent to 300 job cuts and a move to transition the job cuts to voluntary retirement is still being negotiated.
The company has been trying to stabilize its business as heavy losses of 545 billion yen ($5.23 billion) hit it last year until March 2013. Its solar panel business began folding in the wake of fierce competition from Chinese companies who offer lower costs. Prior to the announced end of production in their Tennessee plant, Sharp also announced that its Wales plant will stop manufacturing solar panels, leaving only one factory in Japan and a joint venture with Italian power utilities firm, Enel SpA to handle the solar panel business. The 10-year old factory in Tennessee will remain in operation, producing microwave ovens and toner cartridges for photocopiers.
A three-year revival plan has been outline by the company, which includes the trimming down of its solar panel operations to focus on its display business. Sharp’s first quarter profit for last year showed its net profit fall in two years due to a weak yen and rescue plan by banks in 2012 has already been planned. The $4.6 billion aid, however, will be dependent on the company’s report of its operating and net profit for the whole year. Earnings for October-December period will be reported by February 4. Company shares continue to plunge down at a 0.8 percent against the Nikkei average of 0.3 percent.