Sharp Narrows Loss as Smartphone Surge Boosts LCD Demand

Sharp Corp. (6753), the Japanese electronics maker that supplies screens to Apple Inc., posted a narrower loss than estimates as surging smartphone sales boosted demand for its liquid-crystal displays.

The net loss totaled 18 billion yen ($182 million) in the three months ended June 30, compared with the 138 billion-yen loss a year earlier, the Osaka-based company said yesterday. Sharp was expected to post a loss of 24 billion yen, according to the median estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Shares jumped the most in a month.

Sharp, which is benefiting from a weaker yen and cost cuts, needs additional funds to boost its capital ratio, executive Tetsuo Onishi said yesterday in Tokyo. The company, which has previously sold stakes to Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) and Samsung Electronics Co., plans to raise about 100 billion yen through public and private share sales in September, people familiar with the situation said yesterday.

“Abenomics has helped turn the economy around and it’s saving the electronics makers,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “The question is, while the environment is still good, what do you do next? For Sharp, that means raising capital and coming up with a growth plan.”

Global smartphone shipments surged 46.7 percent to 229.6 million units in the second quarter from a year earlier, Boston-based Strategy Analytics said last month. Sharp reported an increase in sales of small- to medium-size LCDs for handsets and tablets, and President Kozo Takahashi has pledged to make the unit profitable.

Solar Division

Sharp’s solar-panel division posted an operating profit of 6.8 billion yen, compared with the 6.9 billion yen loss a year earlier, the company said. The unit’s sales doubled to 84.3 billion yen from 41.9 billion yen a year ago.

Sharp shares rose as much as 5.1 percent to 432 yen at 9:11 a.m. in Tokyo trading. The stock is up 41 percent so far this year, compared with a 37 percent gain by Japan’s benchmark Topix index.

Operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, totaled 3 billion yen during the three months, compared with a loss of 94 billion year earlier, the company said. Sales rose 33 percent to 608 billion yen during the quarter.

The operating loss at the LCD unit narrowed to 9.5 billion yen during the three months, from a loss of 63.5 billion yen a year earlier, according to the company.

Operating loss at the audio-visual and telecommunication unit, which sells TV sets and mobile-phone handsets, totaled 1.4 billion yen, compared with a loss of 20.3 billion yen a year earlier, Sharp said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mariko Yasu in Tokyo at myasu@bloomberg.net; Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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