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Sharp future blunted by missed deadline

Hopes of Qualcomm cash dashed

Sharp’s hopes that it could pull its nadgers out of the fire have been dashed when it realised that it will miss a March 29 deadline to begin fabricating power-saving screens it is developing with Qualcomm.

The company was to receive the second half of a $120 million investment from Qualcomm if it completed the plan. Qualcomm, already paid half the $120 million in December, set conditions for the remainder that included having completed the specifications for the smartphone and tablet PC screens and preparations for their production. Qualcomm insisted that Sharp would have to make an operating profit in the second half of its business year and have at least $1.05 billion of net assets. Sharp said that the financial targets were not the reason for the delay.

Sharp and Qualcomm will now fall back to a June 30 deadline for the Japanese company to meet conditions for the second payment, the spokesman said. The two companies said in December that Qualcomm, through its Pixtronix subsidiary, would work with Sharp to develop new power-saving screens based on Sharp's IGZO technology. Missing the second deadline would add pressure on cash-strapped Sharp as it looks for money to repay a $2.1 billion convertible bond in September.

Sharp wanted Hon Hai to buy a 9.9 percent stak but that didn’t happen either. Samsung agreed to invest $110 million in Sharp, which supplies screens for Apple Inc's iPhone5 and iPad, in return for a 3 percent stake and a promise from Sharp to bolster panel supplies to the Korean outfit.

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