Sharp production woes lead to delay in Qualcomm investment

Sharp will miss a 29 March deadline to receive the second instalment of a 9.9 billion yen (£69 million) investment pledged by chip manufacturer Qualcomm last December. The troubled Japanese firm has failed to meet production and financial goals outlined in the terms of the investment deal, the company has announced.

Accordingly, Sharp will not receive the remaining 5 billion yen (£35 million) until June.

The investment agreement was conditional on Sharp being able to launch the mass production of energy saving next-generation Micro Electro Mechanical System display panels being developed in collaboration with Pixtronics, a Qualcomm subsidiary. But Sharp admitted there have been delays in the set-up of the manufacturing process.

“We need more time to be in a position to mass produce MEMS displays,” said a company representative. “Nobody has been able to mass produce MEMS displays, so if we succeed it will be the first time in the world.”

Sharp was also mandated to reach financial targets including making an operating profit by the end of the fiscal year ending March 2013.

Like other Japanese electronics firms, Sharp has struggled to remain competitive in the market, with a drop in TV and display panel sales leading it to suffer consecutive losses. Earlier in March, Sharp sold a three per cent stake to Samsung for the sum of 10.4 billion yen (£7.1 million)

Meanwhile, a deal with Hon Hai Precision Industry fell through earlier this month.