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Sharp to acquire 51% stake in Vietnamese camera module maker

Japanese consumer electronics company Sharp Corp. said May 12 it will take control of a camera module manufacturer based in Vietnam in a bid to boost its footprint in a market that could see increased demand from growing usage of smartphones and tablets.

Osaka-based Sharp will acquire 51% in Saigon STEC Co. from Japanese affiliate Sharp Takaya Electronic Industry Co., making the Vietnamese company a subsidiary. To date, Sharp has outsourced the manufacturing of camera modules to Saigon STEC through Sharp Takaya, in which it has a 40% stake.

"Sharp is planning to reinforce the cost competitiveness of the camera modules businesses, whose markets are expected to expand along with smartphones and tablet terminals," the company said in a statement.

The acquisition is part of a larger move to strengthen Sharp's technological prowess under the management of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., which acquired a 66% stake in the company in August 2016. Sharp has posted net losses for six out of the past 10 years, and returned to profit at the operating level in the year ended March 31, 2017, for the first time in three years.

Saigon STEC, established in September 2007, is based in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam.