Japan's Sharp soars on hopes for Intel cash injection

Shares in Japan's embattled electronics maker Sharp rocketed Wednesday morning following reports that the company may get a cash injection of hundreds of millions of dollars from chip giant Intel.

Sharp was up 7.23 percent at 163 yen in early trade on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after surging 10.5 percent briefly.

The Asahi daily said Sharp and Intel were close to agreeing a 30-40 billion yen ($377-503 million) injection.

The Yomiuri said Intel, which has joined hands with Sharp to develop digital products equipped with its microprocessors, may purchase 30 billion yen of Sharp bonds that could be converted into shares.

The two firms aim to reach an accord by the end of the month, the Yomiuri said, while adding the sum could be lower.

An investment of 30 billion yen could give the US company a potential equity stake of more than 17 percent, based on Sharp's market capitalisation of 168.8 billion yen at the close on Tuesday.

The reports said Sharp was also looking for investment from other US companies including telecom group Qualcomm.

Jiji Press news agency said Sharp would get a combined 24 billion yen from Intel and Qualcomm.

An expected capital injection from Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision, which makes Apple gadgets in China, has stalled but Sharp will continue talks with the Taiwanese partner, the reports said.

Sharp would not confirm the reports but they were "an obvious positive for Sharp," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, market analyst at Monex.

"Sharp may really be in talks with Intel and Qualcomm, or it may merely be posturing in order to secure better terms with Hon Hai for its pre-existing capital arrangement," he told Dow Jones Newswires.

"Of course, Sharp might be eyeing a shift away from Hon Hai altogether. It's difficult to tell at this preliminary stage, but Sharp's tactical situation looks better with more potential suitors."

Sharp has warned it will book a $5.6 billion net loss for the year to March as it undergoes a painful restructuring to try to staunch the flow from its bleeding television business and the falling price of LCDs amid stiff competition from overseas rivals.

The company's credit rating has been downgraded to "junk" status, making the 200 billion yen it needs to raise next year a potentially expensive and difficult process.

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