Solar sales dip adds to woes as Sharp nurses $1.9bn loss
Lower solar sales were just one headache of many for Japanese electronics giant Sharp, which today accepted a bailout by its banks as it posted a full-year net loss of 222bn yen ($1.9bn) and warned that it faced “material uncertainty” over its ability to continue as a going concern.
Sharp’s Energy Solutions unit saw its revenues fall 38% last year due to lower solar cell sales.
The division plunged to a 62.7bn yen loss, compared to a year-earlier profit of 32.4bn.
The Japanese group has spent the last 18 months retreating from its global solar activities.
That process has included the closure of PV manufacturing operations in the US and UK, and the ending of production and development joint ventures with Enel Green Power.
Sharp also sold US developer Recurrent Energy to PV group Canadian Solar.
But the company has on several occasions underlined its commitment to the sector, and Sharp hopes the result will be a solar operation more focused on opportunities in Japan and the wider Asian market.
It also hopes to tap the synergies between modules, EPC and storage to create added value – hence the renaming of the Energy Solutions unit from its previous ‘Solar Cells’ moniker.
The refocusing of solar is just one of a range of huge challenges facing the Japanese group’s management, as it unveiled a $1.7bn bailout from its lenders and a restructuring plan that includes a major reorganisation and job cuts. It needed a similar rescue operation as recently as 2012.
The company admitted in its full-year results statement that there are “events or conditions that may cast a material uncertainty about Sharp’s ability to continue as a going concern”, but said it believes the measures it is taking will head off those risks.