January 29, 2015 / 7:45 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Toshiba to exit North America TV market, eyes global overhaul

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TOKYO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp said it will stop making and selling TVs in North America and is considering similar exits from other countries, the latest Japanese electronics maker to give up competing in the global TV market amid a fierce price war.

Toshiba said on Thursday it will license the North American TV business to Taiwan’s Compal Electronics, and was in negotiations to sell its TV brand in other markets as well.

The company said it had tried to cut costs and launch higher-margin large-screen TVs, but price competition had been harsh.

Toshiba will continue its TV business in Japan, a market that it said still offered opportunities for growth due to demand for higher-margin, large-screen TVs.

“We will quit operating TV businesses ourselves overseas,” Executive Vice President Keizo Maeda told reporters.

The company, which separately reported results for the nine months from April through December, said overall operating profit rose nearly 10 percent year-on-year to 164.8 billion yen but the TV business made a loss.

Toshiba’s announcement comes after Panasonic Corp said in late October it was transferring its unprofitable Sanyo television unit in the U.S., which supplies sets to Wal-Mart Stores, to Funai Electric in return for royalties.

Sharp Corp has licensed its TV brand in Europe to Universal Media Corp Slovakia as part of an effort to trim costs and pull back from loss-making operations.

Sony Corp has spun off its struggling TV business into a separate entity, although CEO Kazuo Hirai has said the company does not plan to sell or shut down the unit.

Toshiba said the Compal deal will be effective from March, while it plans to conclude licensing negotiations in other markets in April.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Anupama Dwivedi

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