OSAKA – The president of struggling electronics maker Sharp Corp. said Wednesday he was sorry for skipping dividend payments for the second straight year.
“I deeply apologize. We will try to resume dividend payments as soon as possible,” Kozo Takahashi said at a shareholders’ meeting in Osaka.
The company returned to the black for fiscal 2013, backed by a recovery in its main liquid crystal display business. But many shareholders voiced complaints about the decision to forgo dividends.
One investor asked whether the company will start paying dividends after its medium-term business plan, through March 2016.
“We want to make a decision by taking into account the balance between (the dividend payment) and the strengthening of the capital base, which is our first priority,” the company replied without elaborating further.
Other shareholders rapped Sharp for reforms that appear slow in comparison with rival Panasonic Corp., which has decided to pay dividends for fiscal 2013 after recovering from massive losses.
Sharp posted a group net profit of ¥11.56 billion in fiscal 2013, due partly to the favorable impact of restructuring measures, including personnel cuts, but it is expecting to forgo dividend payments for the third consecutive year in fiscal 2014 as well.
Its share price has been sluggish, hovering in the lower ¥300 level after the company conducted a public stock offering last year to bolster its financial standing.
Analysts say a recovery for Sharp remains uncertain as it has lowered its profit projection for the current year through March 2015.