Renesas Hits Record Low After Report of Cuts: Tokyo Mover

Renesas Said to Plan Raising $1.3 Billion, Cutting 10,000 Jobs
Employees work in a clean room on the production line for 300mm wafers at Renesas Electronics Corp.'s Naka plant in Hitachinaka city, Ibaraki prefecture. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Renesas Electronics Corp. fell to the lowest level on record after the company was said to be planning to eliminate 10,000 jobs and raise 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion) under the latest draft of a restructuring plan.

The world’s biggest maker of automotive microcontrollers presented the proposal last week to its workers’ union and lenders Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc., a person briefed on the matter said May 25. The job cuts would amount to almost a quarter of the company’s 42,800 employees as it seeks to return to profit.

Renesas will explain the plan to its main shareholders Hitachi Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and NEC Corp. this week, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it may change. It probably will ask the three companies to buy shares to raise 50 billion yen, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on May 22 without saying where it got the information.

The chipmaker’s shares dropped 11 percent to close at 244 yen in Tokyo, the lowest since its July 2003 initial public offering. More than 6.7 million shares exchanged hands, compared with a six-month daily average of about 770,000.

NEC, the top shareholder of Renesas with a 35 percent stake, tumbled 9.2 percent to 108 yen, while Mitsubishi Electric gained 0.3 percent and Hitachi dropped 0.4 percent.

“Renesas fell on concerns over whether the company can really sell shares,” said Naoki Fujiwara, who helps oversee $6.6 billion at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “There are also concerns that a further investment in Renesas would hurt NEC’s financial strength.”

Job Cuts

The company may need to eliminate about 12,000 jobs, Takeo Miyamoto, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a May 23 report.

Job cuts may reach 14,000, Kyodo News reported May 26, without saying where the information was obtained.

“We acknowledge the need for job cuts though nothing has been decided,” Shinichi Iwamoto, a senior vice president of Renesas, told reporters in Tokyo today.

Renesas may sell some of its 19 production plants in Japan, including one in Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture, Yomiuri reported yesterday after saying last week the company plans an alliance with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

Cheng-Ming Lin, a director in charge of specialty technology at TSMC, who also met reporters today on a plan to collaborate with Renesas on developing and manufacturing microcontrollers, declined to comment whether the company is considering a plant from Renesas.

Top Shareholders

Renesas, 91 percent owned by NEC, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric combined, posted a net loss of 62.6 billion yen in the year ended March 31.

The major shareholders of Renesas may consider taking “some kind of action” to support the chipmaker if asked, Kenichiro Yamanishi, president of Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Electric, said May 21.

NEC has no plan to make an additional investment in Renesas, NEC spokesman Takehiko Kato said the following day. Hitachi hasn’t received any requests from Renesas, spokesman Hirotaka Ono also said May 22.

Renesas was formed in 2010 after the merger of money-losing chipmakers Renesas Technology Corp. -- a venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric -- and NEC Electronics Corp.

Elpida Memory Inc., which shares the same origin as Renesas, filed for bankruptcy in February after posting losses for five straight quarters because of falling prices of the main memory used in personal computers. The Tokyo-based company was formed in 1999 after merging Hitachi and NEC’s dynamic random-access memory business. Mitsubishi Electric later separated its DRAM unit and combined it with Elpida.

Renesas makes semiconductors that are used in products ranging from automobiles to consumer electronics for tasks including triggering air bags in cars and controlling DVD players. The company’s customers include Apple Inc., Sony and Nintendo Co., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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