• Kyodo

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Sharp Corp. is likely to continue the string of bad news from the electronics sector and report a consolidated net loss for the 2008 business year, industry sources said Saturday.

The loss, which will reverse the ¥60 billion profit forecast it made in October, will likely be blamed on falling share prices in such companies as Pioneer Corp., which Sharp acquired a stake in to form an alliance, as well as the yen’s appreciation and dropping prices for liquid crystal display panels, the sources said.

In December, the Osaka-based consumer electronics maker booked some ¥43 billion in appraisal losses, after share prices plunged.

Sharp was expected to make a major downward revision for the current year, which ends in March, because it was ordered by the Fair Trade Commission in late December to pay a fine of ¥261.07 million for colluding with Hitachi Displays Ltd. to fix prices on liquid crystal display modules used in Nintendo Co.’s game consoles.

With demand for liquid crystal panels on the wane, Sharp has decided to postpone a joint venture planned with Sony Corp. by about a year until March 2010.

The grim forecast comes on the heels of gloomy revisions from the other electronics giants, including Hitachi Ltd. and Panasonic Corp.

On Friday, Hitachi said it expected to incur a group net loss of ¥700 billion — its worst ever — for fiscal 2008.

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