Sharp sees drop in profit this year as yen benefit fades

Reuters News
Posted: May 12, 2014 3:12 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sharp Corp booked a net profit of 11.6 billion yen ($114.05 million) for the year ended March 31, meeting the conditions for a $4.6 billion rescue arranged by banks last year after the company recorded a 545 billion yen loss in the previous year.

It said it was aiming to log a 30 billion yen net profit in FY2014/15, but forecast a drop in operating profit in the current business year to next March as the benefit of a weaker yen over the past year recedes while a pull-back in production of solar cells will also clip profits.

Sharp forecast a 7.9 percent decrease in operating profit to 100 billion yen ($983.19 million) for the current year through March 2014, just above market consensus of 98.7 billion yen, the mean of 15 analyst estimates according to Thomson Reuters' Starmine.

The forecast was 10 percent lower than the figure that Sharp forecast in its three-year management plan last year. The company said a fall in domestic spending after a consumption tax hike in April was also expected to hit revenue this year.

Sharp forecast further growth in its LCD panel business, forecasting a 32.2 percent increase in operating profit to 55 billion yen in the current year.

The company said it would work on increasing the proportion of smartphone and tablet screens at its Kameyama 2 factory to 50 percent in the six months to September from 28 percent in the January-March quarter.

The company's equity ratio was at 8.9 percent on March 31 of this year, down from 13.9 percent at the end of last December and still well off the 20 percent considered to be a healthy level.

Sharp's shares have fallen 22.4 percent this year, against a 13.1 percent drop in the benchmark Nikkei. They ended flat at 259 yen on Monday ahead of the earnings release.

($1 = 101.71 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Sophie Knight; Editing by Matt Driskill)