Sharp sinks as investors hit the off switch

shares in electronics group Sharp tumbled nearly 30 per cent yesterday, hitting their lowest closing level since 1976, as investors questioned whether Japan’s last major maker of televisions will survive.

A day after the century-old company warned of an operating loss of 100 billion yen (£81.5bn), Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s cut their credit ratings and rival Fitch warned that Sharp could lose investment-grade status unless a planned restructuring succeeds.

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Sharp’s mounting losses – a symptom of Japanese TV makers’ increasing uncompetitiveness – leave it scrambling for a fresh cash injection.

Analysts say its future may hinge on whether Hon Hai Precision Industries, the flagship of Taiwan’s Foxconn Group, is willing to increase its investment in the ailing firm to 11 per cent, as was agreed in March.