Sharp says it won't exit solar business

The head of Sharp Corp.’s energy business on Monday told reporters in Japan the company would not “quit or sell” its solar business, but would instead return to profit.

Amid ongoing speculation that financially troubled electronics giant Sharp would soon exit the solar business, Kazushi Mukai, head of Sharp’s energy unit, told reporters during a tour of the company’s solar cell factory in Sakai, Japan, that Sharp would not sell its loss-making solar business.

According to Reuters, Mukai said, “There is no truth to talk that we will quit, or sell, the solar business.” Instead, the company, which forecasts a loss of 5 billion yen (US$42 million) for the unit in its fiscal year ending March 31, plans to return to profit in its next fiscal year.

Mukai said the loss was due mainly to the yen’s decline rather than the fundamental structure of the business, according to Reuters.

Mukai’s comments on Monday echoed a statement Sharp issued earlier this month: “Recently, there were media reports regarding Sharp’s solar cell business. However, these reports are speculations and not based on Sharp’s announcement. We are currently undergoing fundamental structural reforms for the recovery of the profitability of solar business, but there are no fact of Sharp to withdraw from solar business at this time.”

Earlier this year, Sharp sold its US-based project development subsidiary Recurrent Energy to Canadian Solar for $265 million.

Last week, Sharp said it was working on a new medium-term management plan for the entire company that would be revealed “around May 2015.”

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