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Originally published February 6, 2009 at 3:00 AM | Page modified February 6, 2009 at 8:33 AM

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Sharp to cut 1,500 jobs, forecasts annual loss

Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. said Friday it will cut 1,500 contract workers in Japan by the end of March, and is headed for a billion dollar annual loss, its first in nearly 60 years.

Associated Press Writer

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TOKYO —

Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. said Friday it will cut 1,500 contract workers in Japan by the end of March, and is headed for a billion dollar annual loss, its first in nearly 60 years.

Sharp said costs to restructure its flat-panel display business, together with losses in its stock holdings and regulatory fines would lead to a net loss of 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in the current fiscal year through March.

The company, which previously forecast a 60 billion yen net profit, hasn't had a net loss since 1950.

Sharp said it will cut jobs by not extending the contracts of some of its temporary workers, and the cuts will not affect the company's full-time global work force, which currently numbers about 55,900.

It plans to slash expenses by 200 billion yen over the next two years, including cutting the salaries of executives and managers. The company will also reorganize its LCD factories and reassign some workers.

The maker of the Aquos line of liquid crystal display televisions said its net loss in the October-December quarter alone was 65.83 billion yen, down from a 29.60 billion yen profit a year earlier. Revenues fell to 735.15 billion yen from 921.20 billion yen.

The quarter has historically been a strong one for electronics makers due to the boost from holiday sales, but Sharp said it was hit hardest in its core audiovisual and communications division, which makes LCD TVs and mobile phones. The unit, which accounts for nearly half of Sharp's revenues, booked a 22.35 billion yen loss for the quarter.

The company increased the overall number of LCD TVs it sold from a year earlier, but big price falls lowered its margin on each set sold. For the full fiscal year through March, Sharp expects to sell 10 million LCD TVs, 21 percent more than last year, but still forecasts LCD TV revenues will fall 10 percent.

Sharp, Japan's largest maker of mobile phones, said phone sales have fallen due to the slumping domestic market.

Foreign exchange also hurt the company during the quarter, as the strong yen cut profits on products sold abroad. Sharp said it lost 74.1 billion yen in revenue during the quarter due to foreign exchange.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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