Sharp may sell copier, air conditioner businesses: media

TOKYO Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:27am IST

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Sharp Corp (6753.T) may sell its copier and air-conditioner businesses, Japanese media including the Nikkei business daily reported on Friday, as shrinking piles of cash prompt the company to consider restructuring its non-core assets.

Sharp, which makes screens for Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPad and iPhone, needs to refinance as much as 360 billion yen ($4.54 billion) of short-term commercial paper and will need a further 200 billion yen in September next year to cover a maturing convertible bond.

Desperate for funds to refinance looming debt rollovers, Sharp is seeking more than 100 billion yen for its key solar panel plant in Sakai, western Japan, as part of an asset sale, local media said on Thursday.

Sharp may also sell its buildings in Tokyo as well as television assembly plants in Poland, Malaysia, Mexico and Poland, a company source told Reuters this week.

Kyocera Corp (6971.T), Daiwa House Industry Co (1925.T) and Daikin Industries Ltd (6367.T) are among the companies that have reportedly expressed interest in buying the copier and air-conditioner businesses, the Nikkei reported.

Sharp has also signed contracts with two overseas consulting firms to help it determine which assets to sell, the Nikkei added.

The maker of Aquos TVs will also sell its 0.6 percent stake in Japanese camera maker Olympus Corp (7733.T) and is leaning towards disposing of its 9.8 percent interest in lithium ion battery joint venture Eliiy Power Co, the Nikkei reported.

Sharp said in a statement on Friday that it is considering various options to improve operations and did not comment further on the reports.

Shares of Sharp were unchanged at 175 yen, versus a 0.2 percent rise in the Nikkei 225 average .N225 in early Tokyo trade. ($1 = 79.2650 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Tim Kelly and James Topham in Tokyo; Balaji Sridharan in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane and Ryan Woo)

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