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Sharp posts $100M profit on cost cuts

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 7:05am
Jay Alabaster, The Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) – Japan's Sharp Corp. booked its second-straight profitable quarter in October-December, its cost-cutting efforts bringing it back from large losses even as sales of flat-screen TVs and other products stayed flat.

Sharp said Wednesday it booked a net profit of 9.1 billion yen ($100 million) during its third quarter, after a 65.8 billion yen ($722 million) loss a year earlier. The turnaround came despite a tepid uptick in sales, to 735.3 billion yen ($8.1 billion) from 735.1 billion yen.

The Osaka-based electronics company is one of the world's largest makers of flat-panel TVs, competing with rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, and its factories also supply panels for other major players like Sony Corp.

Hit with major losses a year ago as the global economy slumped and wary consumers cut spending on luxury electronics, Sharp has implemented major cost-cutting measures.

The results showed in its main TV and wireless division, which includes its LCD TVs and accounts for more than half of its revenue. The business saw operating profit recover to 4.9 billion yen ($53.8 million) during the quarter, up from a 21.8 billion yen ($239.2 million) loss a year earlier, even as revenue slipped slightly.

For the first nine months of the fiscal year, Sharp's losses were much smaller than a year earlier, mainly on its lower operating costs and due to a large loss on securities holdings in the earlier period that came off of its books.

But Sharp kept its forecast for a net profit over the full fiscal year through March, indicating it expects more positive results in the current fourth quarter. It forecasts 3 billion yen ($32.9 million) in profit on 2.75 trillion yen ($30.2 billion) in sales.

The company said demand in China was recovering due to economic measures there, but the situation remained bleak in Japan, the U.S. and Europe.

Sharp shares fell 0.35 percent to 1,132 yen ($12.42) in Wednesday trade before its earnings were announced.

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