Slow LCD TV sales widen Sharp loss

Kyodo

Sharp Corp. is expecting to post a group net loss of ¥350 billion for the business year that ended March 31, worse than previously forecast, sources said Tuesday.

The Osaka-based electronics company projected last month a group net loss of ¥290 billion, but the loss has widened as prices of liquid crystal display panel televisions fell more than expected while its solar battery business was sluggish.

Sharp’s mainline LCD business has been battered by such factors as a global oversupply of Lpanels, forcing the operating rate of its large LCD manufacturing plant in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, to fall to around 50 percent.

On the domestic front, the profitability of Sharp’s LCD TV business is likely to have deteriorated further as demand weakened following the transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting last year.

Sharp initially expected to book a full-year group net profit of ¥6 billion but revised the projection downward on Feb. 1, when it said it expected to post its largest-ever net loss of ¥290 billion.

Last month, the electronics company announced it will form a capital and business alliance with Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and supply its LCD panels to Hon Hai, the world’s biggest contract supplier of electronics products also known for its Foxconn brand.

Though the procurement is scheduled to start in October, it is unlikely to raise the operating rate of the Sakai plant for the time being.