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Japan Display CEO to quit as struggling maker plans more job cuts

In this May 15, 2019 photo, Japan Display Inc. President Yoshiyuki Tsukizaki, left, speaks at a press conference in Tokyo. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan Display Inc., a supplier to Apple Inc., said Wednesday its CEO will quit in September to take responsibility for years of net losses as it unveiled additional restructuring measures, including raising the number of domestic job cuts to 1,200.

The latest reduction, up from 1,000 announced in May, represents over a quarter of the display maker's total workforce in Japan. CEO and President Yoshiyuki Tsukizaki will step down, effective Sept. 30, to be replaced by Managing Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer Minoru Kikuoka.

The struggling maker aims to lower fixed costs as it has agreed to receive up to 80 billion yen ($738 million) in a bailout from a Chinese-Taiwanese consortium.

It incurred a group net loss for the fifth straight year in fiscal 2018 at 109.43 billion yen, on sales of 636.66 billion yen, down 11.3 percent from the previous year, hit by falling demand from its main client Apple.

The maker also said operations at its Hakusan plant in Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan will be suspended from July to September and that part of its manufacturing line at its Mobara plant in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, will be closed in September.

The company said it will decide by late September whether to reopen the Hakusan plant, which makes displays for smartphones.

Between July 29 and Aug. 27, the company will solicit employees to take early retirement by the end of September under a voluntary early retirement program.

Japan Display was established in 2012 following the merger of the display operations of Sony Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. with support from state-backed fund INCJ Ltd.

It struck a bailout deal in April with the consortium, including China's Harvest Tech Investment Management Co. and Taiwanese panel maker TPK Holding Co., under which the foreign group will together own 49.8 percent of Japan Display once the payments are made by Dec. 30.

As a result, INCJ's shareholdings in the company will fall to 12.7 percent from the current 25.3 percent.

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