Japan chip maker Renesas to cut 6,000 jobs

Japanese microchip maker Renesas Electronics will cut 6,000 jobs, or 15 percent of its workforce, a leading daily reported on Tuesday, as the nation's chip industry struggles on the world stage.

The firm, which employs about 42,000 people worldwide, also plans to raise 50 billion yen ($630 million) in fresh capital, Japan's top-selling Yomiuri Shimbun said without citing sources.

Renesas, which lost 62.6 billion yen in the year to March, declined to confirm the report, adding in a brief statement that it has not made any announcements on job reductions or capital-raising plans.

Mitsubishi Electric, a major Renesas shareholder, said Monday it was "prepared to consider financial assistance for the capital boost", if Renesas requested it.

Renesas investors "have the responsibility" to help the firm, Mitsubishi Electric president Kenichiro Yamanishi told reporters on Monday.

A Renesas spokesman told AFP on Tuesday that "the company is regularly consulting with the top shareholders on its financial condition, especially as its performance is not so good."

Renesas Electronics was established in 2010 after NEC's semiconductor subsidiary merged with Mitsubishi Electric and Hitachi's joint chip business.

Mitsubishi, Hitachi and NEC are now Renesas's top three shareholders.

The Yomiuri report came as Japan's microchip industry faces a downturn with the sector struggling amid a strong yen and fierce competition, especially from South Korean and Taiwanese rivals.

Japan's Elpida Memory, one of the world's top microchip makers, was delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in March in the biggest corporate failure in Japanese manufacturing history.

US-based semiconductor maker Micron Technology has emerged as a likely buyer for the troubled Japanese firm, which filed for bankruptcy protection with debts of 448 billion yen.

The job cuts at Renesas will be mainly through voluntary retirements, the Yomiuri said.

The company's shares, which fell 10.0 percent on Monday after Goldman Sachs told clients to sell the stock, were trading 5.57 percent higher at 284 yen in Tuesday afternoon trade.

The shares had climbed more than 11.0 percent earlier in the day.

Renesas has been a major player in the global market for auto engine and brake system microcontrollers, but its production was hit hard by the powerful March 11 quake and tsunami that rocked northeast Japan last year.

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