TOKYO, March 21 Japan's Renesas Electronics Corp
is in talks with foreign companies about selling the
mobile phone chip business it bought from Nokia Oyj
three years ago, the company's new president said.
"It is one of the options we are looking at," Tetsuya
Tsurumaru, the Japanese chipmaker's latest boss told reporters
in Tokyo on Thursday. Tsurumaru took over as president on Feb
"Overseas is our main focus," Tsurumaru said, without
identifying the firms his company was speaking to. A sale in
Japan remained a possibility, he added, but declined to discuss
whether any talks about a domestic deal were underway.
Purchased in 2010 for $1.9 billion, the cellphone chip unit
has been in the red ever since, contributing to losses that
forced the company to seek a $1.6 billion government-led bailout
cobbled together in December to counter a bid by U.S. private
equity firm KKR & Co LP amid worries that Renesas'
technology would end up in foreign hands.
Separately, in October it received $1 billion from its banks
and main shareholders Hitachi Ltd, NEC Corp
and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
The world's leading maker of microcontroller chips used in
cars will receive its state financing by the end of September,
at which point it will be two-thirds owned by the
taxpayer-funded Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ).
Renesas had been expected to join an all-Japanese merger of
Panasonic Corp's and Fujitsu Ltd's LSI chip
units, which make microchips used in TVs, digital cameras and
other consumer electronic products, sources told Reuters last
month. The firm is still in talks about joining its domestic
rivals, those sources said.
In February, Renesas, which last year slashed more than
7,000 jobs and promised to shutter eight of its 18 plants in
Japan within three years, cut its earnings forecast for the year
to March 2013 to an operating loss of 26 billion yen ($272.24
million) from its previous forecast of a 21 billion yen profit.