Japan's Sharp posts record annual loss

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese electronics giant Sharp on Tuesday posted a record annual loss for the second year in a row, although it added that it expected to return to profitability in the current fiscal year.

The maker of Aquos-brand electronics reported a net loss of 545.3 billion yen (S$6.64 billion) in the year to March, its worst-ever shortfall after losing 376 billion yen in the previous year.

Sales in the period were 2.48 trillion yen, up from 2.46 trillion yen a year earlier.

"We apologise for having to book huge losses for two straight years," Sharp Executive Director Tetsuo Onishi told a press conference after releasing the disappointing figures.

The results cap off another tough earnings season for Sharp which last year warned over its survival and put up its Osaka headquarters as collateral to land crucial bank loans.

It has since backed off from bleak talk of the century-old firm going under as it embarks on a painful restructuring including thousands of job cuts and slashing wages from the factory floor to the boardroom.

It has also inked capital tie-up deals with foreign firms including South Korea's Samsung Electronics and US-based Qualcomm.

On Tuesday, Sharp said it expected to eke out a small 5.0 billion yen net profit in the current fiscal year to March 2014.