Japan's Sharp returns to profit on stronger sales, cost-cutting

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese electronics maker Sharp swung back to profit for the nine months to December, thanks to stronger sales and cost cutting.

The Osaka-based company booked a 17.7 billion-yen (S$223 million) net profit in the April-December period, reversing an eye-watering net loss of 424.3 billion yen a year earlier. Sales jumped 21 per cent to 2.16 trillion yen on brisk demand for panels, including its popular "IGZO" displays for mobile phones.

"We have also taken various measures on a company-wide basis to improve our business foundations, including radical reductions in total costs and fixed costs centring on labour costs as well as capital investment," it said.

Sharp revised upward its full-year sales forecast to 2.9 trillion yen from its earlier estimate of 2.7 trillion yen for the year to March. It also upgraded a full-year operating profit forecast to 100 billion yen from 80 billion yen projected earlier, while leaving an annual net profit forecast unchanged at 5 billion yen.

Sharp is undergoing a huge restructuring process to pare losses largely tied to its ailing electronics business.

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