OSAKA -- Sharp will license its television brand in Europe to Universal Media Corp. Slovakia as it focuses resources on more lucrative regions.
Revamping its unprofitable European business, which accounts for about 5% of consolidated sales, Sharp will focus on Southeast Asia and other profitable markets. The roughly 300 employees handling the TV operations in Europe will be laid off. The Japanese company is expected to post a total of roughly 10 billion yen ($90.7 million) in extraordinary losses from the moves this fiscal year.
Sharp announced in July that it would essentially exit the solar cell business in Europe. The company also had plans to license its brand to Taiwan's TPV Technology for TVs and to Turkey's Vestel for large household appliances. But when talks with TPV on selling its Polish factory fell through, Sharp turned to UMC Slovakia.
The mid-size European TV manufacturer will now get both Sharp's brand and may purchase the Polish plant. Founded in 2003, UMC Slovakia specializes in flat-panel sets and electronic parts, boasting bases in the U.K. and Germany.