Apple display maker could be forced to slash its workforce

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The new iPhones go on sale tomorrow. Are you ready?
Japan Display makes LCD displays for the iPhone XR.
Photo: Apple

Apple display maker Japan Display is having a rough time right now. On Wednesday, it posted its ninth consecutive quarterly net loss, partly impacted by disappointing Apple orders.

The company made a loss of 98.6 billion yen ($899.22) million for the quarter. As a result, Japan Display is planning to cut around 1,000 jobs — a full tenth of its workforce.

The news is extra bad for Japan Display since a life-saving bailout was recently delayed. An anticipated 80 billion yen investment from a Chinese-Taiwanese conglomerate has been delayed. This is so the group can reportedly reassess Japan Display’s future prospects.

Reuters writes that:

“The bailout deal would allow the buyers – including Taiwanese flat screen maker TPK Holding Co Ltd and Chinese investment firm Harvest Group – to become Japan Display’s biggest shareholders with a 49.8 percent stake, replacing the Japanese government-backed INCJ fund.”

Can Japan Display turn around?

Tech companies raise money all the time. What makes this one significant, however, is that without it Japan Display may well not be able to survive.

As with many suppliers, Japan Display has been suffering as a result of the slowdown in iPhone sales. In Japan Display’s case, though, this was compounded by Apple’s shift to OLED screens. As an LCD maker, Japan Display was only able to contribute screens to the iPhone XR. Apple has accounted for more than 50% of Japan Display’s business for the past several years.

More recently, Japan Display has shifted its strategy to focus on other non-display areas like sleep-tracking sensors. The company will also reportedly supply OLED screens for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 5. This “breakthrough” deal will be its first foray into OLED screens.

Hopefully it can turn things around soon. Because right now, prospects aren’t exactly looking great!

Source: Reuters