• The Associated Press

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Sharp Corp. on Tuesday reported an 18 percent gain in profit for the third fiscal quarter on healthy demand for liquid crystal display television sets and mobile phones with digital cameras.

The consumer electronics maker reported a group net profit of 20.9 billion yen for the October-December quarter, up from 17.8 billion yen the same period a year ago. Sales rose 12 percent to 650.6 billion yen during the quarter from 580.46 billion yen.

The Osaka-based manufacturer, which built its fame in recent years on its LCDs, has stood up better than even more established Japanese rivals against price drops and intensifying competition.

Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp., for example, have pared down sales forecasts for the full fiscal year.

Sharp kept its forecast unchanged for the fiscal year ending March 31 at a 24 percent increase in group net profit to a record 75 billion yen. It is forecasting a 12 percent climb in sales to 2.53 trillion yen, another record.

In the just-ended quarter, Sharp’s TV business benefited from the growing popularity of pricey large-screen TVs.

Sharp’s sales were up 23 percent in the latest quarter in its audiovisual and communication equipment sector, which includes LCD color TVs and camera-equipped cell phones, the company said. Sales of solar cell batteries, home appliances and digital printers were also up from last year.

Sharp said the results underline the company’s “assertive initiatives” to stay competitive.

“We worked to enhance our unique products, such as LCD color TVs and camera-quipped mobile phones,” it said.

For the nine months through Dec. 31, Sharp earned 60.2 billion yen in net profit on 1.91 trillion yen in sales, up from a 41.9 billion yen profit on 1.67 trillion yen in sales the same period a year ago.

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