Renesas Electronics, which is just over halfway through a massive restructuring started in 2012, is likely to continue reducing its headcount as it follows through on plans to sell and consolidate its factories in Japan.

The Japanese chipmaker has cut more than 15,000 jobs and lost JPY350 billion ($3.3 billion) over the last four fiscal years. Reuters reported that 361 people had opted to take up its latest offer of early retirement. It was the fifth time the voluntary programme has been offered. The company now has 27,000 employees.

A year ago it received a JPY150 billion injection from a government-backed fund, but it is now forecasting its first half-year profit since 2008. Its stock price is up 25 per cent over the past three weeks.

In its effort to unload assets, Renesas has already sold a chip factory to Sony in March for JPY7.5 billion and is in the process of selling Renesas SP Drivers, a subsidiary and Apple supplier, to Synaptics for $475 million, Reuters said.

More than a year ago the company was considering selling its loss-making mobile phone chip business, acquired from Nokia in 2010 for $200 million.

Speaking yesterday at a media roundtable, Chairman and CEO Hisao Sakuta said it aims to increase the proportion of sales to automotive and industrial customers to more than half, from 40 per cent, and focus on technologies such as in-car navigation and automatic safety systems.

The company is developing technologies for autonomous driving vehicles, including one that allows a car to park itself. According to Reuters, one of its chips puts together a 3D image from a car’s camera to detect pedestrians. Test shipments of the chip begin this month, with full production not expected until 2016.