Sharp Corp. said Tuesday it aims to expand sales of LCD panels for business products to establish a more stable portfolio rather than depend on highly volatile consumer products.

The struggling Osaka-based firm still has a technological edge in the LCD panel business, allowing it to provide high-added-value products, it said during a news conference in Tokyo.

At the event, it showed off cutting-edge LCD technologies, including clear and touch-sensitive panels that allow people to draw on them with a brush and panels with unique designs, including a round one.

Norikazu Hohshi, senior executive managing officer overseeing Sharp’s device business, said LCDs will remain Sharp’s core business segment.

The LCD unit is expected to post ¥40 billion operating profit for the year ending in March but will not meet the original forecast of ¥55 billion due to competition in China.

“I wouldn’t say that the LCD business has sunk to a level where it is struggling,” Hohshi said.

Last week, it was reported that Sharp expected to post a massive net loss from ¥100 billion to ¥200 billion, far deeper than the ¥30 billion it previously announced, as it moves to close more plants and withdraw from solar panel production.

Hohshi did not address the closure rumors and said Sharp would come up with a new three-year business plan in May.

Since the consumer LCD business is volatile and undergoes rapid price changes for smartphones and tablet PCs, Sharp said it plans to focus more on business products, such as automotive and medical applications.

The business sector has longer product cycles and is generally harder for other firms to enter as high technology and customer support are essential.

Business products account for only 15 percent of Sharp’s LCD business, but the company aims to raise that to 40 percent by fiscal 2021.

The LCD panel business accounts for about a third of Sharp’s overall sales, meaning the performance of the segment will have a significant impact on its consolidated results.

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