Business / Corporate

Sharp posts first net profit in four years on solid LCD sales

Kyodo

Sharp Corp. said Thursday it posted its first group net profit in four years in fiscal 2017, helped by its core liquid crystal display business.

Showing a remarkable turnaround under restructuring led by parent Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Sharp logged a consolidated net profit of ¥70.23 billion ($642 million) in the business year ended on March 31 — a reversal from a ¥24.88 billion loss the previous year.

The Japanese electronics maker said it has decided to pay its first dividend in six years, at ¥10 per share for fiscal 2017.

“We’ve carried out structural reforms under the new management (of current Chief Executive Officer Tai Jeng-Wu) and have recovered our finances to the point where we’re now able to pay dividends,” Sharp Executive Vice President Katsuaki Nomura said at a press conference in Tokyo.

“We’ll continue to expand our operations, achieve goals, enhance our profitability and improve our finances,” he said.

But while the company has returned to profitability, Nomura said it has more to work on to get back on a sustainable growth track.

“We’ve only come halfway through. We need to carry out our (three-year) medium term business plan (through fiscal 2019) fully to say we’ve revived,” he said.

Hon Hai of Taiwan, which assembles Apple Inc.’s iPhones and is also known by its trade name Foxconn, acquired Sharp in August 2016 to fix the Japanese company’s finances.

In December, Sharp returned to the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, more than a year after it was demoted to the bourse’s Second Section based on its earnings.

The electronics maker posted a group operating profit of ¥90.13 billion, up 44.3 percent, on sales of ¥2.43 trillion, 18.4 percent higher from the year before.

The company expects group net profit for the current year to rise 13.9 percent to ¥80 billion on sales of ¥2.89 trillion, up 19.1 percent.