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Japan's Sharp mulls revamp of Europe business

In a bid to boost profitability and focus more on rich Asian and North American markets, electronics manufacturer Sharp is reportedly planning to overhaul its stagnant operations in Europe.

The Japanese electronics giant said Friday it is weighing an overhaul of its sluggish European operations as the company aims to recover from years of massive losses.

The announcement followed a report in the Nikkei business daily that said the Osaka-based company is looking to abandon its European television business as it accumulates annual losses running into tens of millions of dollars.

Sharp released a statement on Friday admitting that it is "doing various studies on restructuring operations in Europe, but nothing has been decided at the moment."

Sharp could cut about 300 employees, or 10 percent of its European workforce, Nikkei reported.

The news came months after another Japanese electronics heavyweight, Sony, said it will have to slash thousands of jobs to adapt to new market realities and enhance profitability.

Trouble getting a foothold in Europe

Sharp began production of liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs in Poland in 2007, but so far has failed to win a significant market share.

The report also noted that the electronics manufacturer may outsource sales to Taiwan's TPV Technology and has also proposed selling its Polish unit to the Asian home electronics company.

Sharp is also in talks with Turkey's Vestel over its microwave oven and home appliance business in Europe, Nikkei said.

Markets' initial reaction to the news was positive with the company's shares spiking 2.10 percent before falling back slightly to end 0.90 percent higher at 336 yen.

Although Sharp is a major exporter that generates a majority of its sales outside of its home market, its European sales amounted to only eight percent of its overall revenue. Nikkei reported that the Japanese group is shifting its focus to richer Asian and North American markets.

sri/cjc (AFP, dpa)

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