Japan’s Sharp posts narrower loss for the year, cost cuts paying off

FILE PHOTO: People walk past an advertisement for Sharp Corp's Aquos television outside an electronics retail store in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sharp Corp on Friday reported a narrower annual loss for the year ended in March, as a cost-cutting drive by Taiwanese owner Foxconn started to show results.

The liquid crystal display manufacturer booked an annual net loss of 24.9 billion yen ($224.04 million), much less than the 255.97 billion loss the previous year.

The results beat expectations for a 28.4 billion yen loss forecast by an average of nine analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

In the fourth quarter, net profit was 16.2 billion yen, marking the second consecutive profitable quarter after two years of losses.

Sharp said it will give its outlook for the current fiscal year on May 26, with Executive Vice-President Katsuaki Nomura saying that it was “natural” that the company would be profitable in the current fiscal year.

The company is considering investing in the chip unit of beleaguered Japanese conglomerate Toshiba, although nothing had yet been decided, Nomura said. Following its successful acquisition of Sharp last year, Foxconn is bidding for the unit, which is the world’s second-largest NAND chip maker behind Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Sharp has been deepening co-operation with its parent Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, while cutting costs and consolidating production lines.

Under the leadership of Foxconn Vice-Chairman Tai Jeng-wu, Sharp, a major supplier of LCD panels to Apple Inc, is plotting its return to the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section.

As part of its growth strategy the company is on target to begin commercial production of OLED displays in the first quarter of the next fiscal year, it confirmed.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Randy Fabi and Stephen Coates)