Sharp licensing deal excludes commercial kit

Rivals of Japanese electronics maker Sharp are watching closely to see if a licensing agreement it signed with Turkish manufacturing group Vestel will have any implications for its commercial microwave business.

Under a sales and manufacturing deal announced last month, Vestel will become the exclusive distributor of Sharp-branded white goods within Europe, selling appliances produced at its own factories and those supplied by Sharp’s facilities in Asia.

Microwaves are included in the agreement with Vestel, however correspondence from Sharp confirms that it only extends to domestic models.

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The manufacturer said in a statement: “The white goods business in Europe will be transferred to Vestel. Vestel will sell Sharp-brand white goods (excluding air conditioners), such as refrigerators and microwave ovens, manufactured by SATL, Sharp’s consumer appliance manufacturing base in Thailand, and SSEC, Sharp’s consumer appliance manufacturing base in Shanghai, China.

“Sharp will also license its brand to Vestel for Vestel-manufactured volume zone home appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, and kitchen appliances, such as dishwashers and electric ovens, in order to expand the Sharp-brand home appliance line-up, and Vestel will sell such goods.”

RH Hall, Sharp’s official wholesaler for commercial microwave ovens in the UK, had no comment to make on the tie-up as ‘it is not a situation that is affecting the UK product market, on either the commercial foodservice/business sector or the domestic one’.

Sharp also signed a separate licensing pact with Slovakian manufacturer UMC covering its LCD TV and audio-visual business last month.

Both the Vestel and UMC agreements are part of profitability improvement measures being taken by Sharp in the wake of severe price competition in the European electronics market.

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