Japan Display to cut 1,200 jobs and suspend smartphone screen plant

14, Jun. 2019

TOKYO, NNA – Japan Display Inc., a cash-strapped liquid-crystal-display maker, will shed more jobs, close some smartphone display production lines and replace its chief executive amid continued losses.

The company, which supplies smartphone panels to Apple Inc., said Wednesday it will cut 1,200 jobs through early retirement, 200 more than previously announced in May.

Yoshiyuki Tsukizaki, president and CEO, will resign from the positions at the end of September, when the early retirement program is completed. He will be replaced by Minoru Kikuoka, chief financial officer.

The job cuts represent nearly a quarter of Japan Display’s 4,635 employees as of June 1. Those taking an early retirement package will quit at the end of September.

In addition, Japan Display will suspend operations for three months starting July at its Hakusan plant in Ishikawa Prefecture, central Japan, where it produces displays for smartphones and tablets.

The company said in a statement it will “decide whether or not to re-start production” at the plant by the end of September, based on customer demand.

Japan Display will also close the back-end production line at its Mobara plant in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo and consider selling related equipment to downsize the mobile business.

Separately, the company said it will also trim executive remuneration by between 15 percent and 60 percent. Employees in non-managerial positions will also see their mid-year bonuses cut by 15 percent.

Japan Display was established in 2012, following the merger of the display operations of Sony Corp., Hitachi Ltd., and Toshiba Corp, to build the world's leading display group, but it incurred continual losses amid stiff competition and a global slowdown in smartphone demand.

It posted a group net loss for a fifth straight year in the 12 months ended March 2019, hit by falling demand from its main client, Apple.

Japan Display signed a bailout deal in April with a consortium, including China's Harvest Tech Investment Management Co. and Taiwanese panel maker TPK Holding Co., which was to take a 49.8 percent stake, but press reports have said the consortium’s final decision has been delayed.