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Sharp Corp. said Wednesday its group net loss is likely to expand to ¥130 billion, rising from the ¥100 billion it projected earlier, and its operating loss to ¥60 billion, up from ¥30 billion, in its third downward revision of its annual earnings forecast for fiscal 2008.

The projected losses compare with a year-earlier net profit of ¥101.92 billion and operating profit of ¥183.69 billion. The losses will be the first on record. The firm began compiling earnings results on a consolidated basis starting in fiscal 1977.

The major electronics maker slashed its full-year earnings forecast in February and October, hit by sagging demand and falling prices of digital products.

Its group sales are also expected to fall to ¥2.85 trillion, down from its February forecast of ¥2.90 trillion and year-earlier sales of ¥3.42 trillion.

Sharp has joined other Japanese electronics makers, including Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp., in projecting big losses for the business year that ended in March.

The firm attributed the latest downward revision of its earnings forecast to expenses related to reducing its growing inventories of liquid crystal display TVs and panels and consolidating its LCD plants.

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