Fitch Ratings dealt another blow to Sharp Corp. on Friday, saying it had cut the embattled Japanese electronics giant's credit rating to junk, after a similar move by rival Standard & Poor's.
The downgrade came after Osaka-based Sharp said on Thursday it would post a whopping $5.6 billion annual loss while warning it had doubts about carrying on as a viable company.
Fitch said it slashed its view on the maker of Aquos-brand electronics by six notches to a rating of B minus, which means its credit rating was no longer considered a safe, investment-grade bet.
"The downgrade reflects growing risks to Sharp's liquidity position, reinforcing Fitch's view that the technology company will struggle to turn its business around," a Fitch statement said Friday.
In August, S&P also chopped Sharp's rating to junk status.
On Friday, Fitch said Sharp's cash balance was about $2.75 billion at the end of September, well below more than $11 billion worth of debt coming due within a year, and it may have trouble securing further bank loans.
A capital injection from Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision, which makes Apple gadgets in China, appears to be in doubt and Sharp has put up real-estate -- including its headquarters -- as collateral for desperately needed cash.
"Fitch does not foresee any meaningful operational turnaround in the company's core business over the short- to medium-term due to deterioration in its market position as well as in price competitiveness as a result of a high Japanese yen," it said.
Japan's electronic makers have suffered from the strong currency, which makes their products pricier overseas, fierce competition from emerging South Korean and Taiwanese rivals and weakening demand in key export markets.