• Kyodo

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Sharp Corp. said Wednesday it expects a 2.4-fold increase in net profit for the current business year through next March to ¥50 billion ($473 million) as its supply chains disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic return to normal.

Sharp, a unit of Apple Inc.’s key supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., projects sales to rise 3.5 percent to ¥2.35 trillion and operating profit to soar 55.4 percent to ¥82 billion, with the gradual reopening of economies hit by the virus spread.

The coronavirus pandemic weighed on Sharp’s bottom line in the previous business year through March but the Osaka-based firm now aims to cater to the needs of people forced to live new lifestyles due to the virus.

The manufacturer said it seeks to tap its lineup of everything from TVs to air-cleaning and home cooking devices to offer solutions to people adjusting to a world changed by the virus outbreak.

It is also hoping to meet growing demand for displays used in laptops and tablet devices due to more people choosing to work from home and switching to online education.

“Our supply chains (disrupted by the virus outbreak) have largely returned to normal. We expect our business to recover,” Sharp President Katsuaki Nomura said at an online press briefing, adding that the full-year forecasts are based on the assumption that economic activity will gradually resume globally.

“The coronavirus (pandemic) has changed the business environment for us,” he said.

The virus outbreak prompted a nationwide state of emergency to be declared in Japan and lockdowns imposed in numerous countries.

In the April-June period, Sharp’s net profit slumped 36.6 percent from a year earlier to ¥7.95 billion.

Total sales in the first quarter eked out a gain of 0.4 percent to ¥517.29 billion and operating profit plunged 37.8 percent to ¥9.08 billion.

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