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Sharp chopper falls on early-retire plan as employees flee in droves

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Ailing Japanese electronics maker Sharp has been forced to suspend its early retirement programme ahead of time due to the large numbers looking to cash in and check out.

The under-fire Osaka-based firm, which predicted losses of ¥250bn (£1.92bn) for the year ending March 2013, has been looking to offload staff in a cost-cutting exercise.

Reports emerged in September that it was set to slash 11,000 jobs worldwide, halve bonuses and sell off some of its factories in a bid to return to profitability.

Some of those will come from a voluntary retirement programme announced back in August, which was set to run from 1 to 14 November. However, the firm has revealed that it was shortened to 9 November “due to oversubscription”.

During the first nine days of the period, 2,960 applicants accepted voluntary retirement, nearly 1,000 more than was originally intended.

Sharp will be forced to record the ¥25.3bn (£19.47m) expense as an “extraordinary loss” for the third quarter of its financial year ending March 2013.

The firm, which is still Japan’s biggest producer of LCD displays, has recently been linked to a possible ¥30bn investment from either or both US chip giants Intel and Qualcomm.

According to the reports, Intel is interested in investing in the once-proud Japanese giant as its low-power display tech could be a good fit for new Ultrabook models. ®

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