Sharp Energy Business Posts Loss as Sales Outside Japan Drop

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Sharp Corp.’s energy business swung to a loss and sales plunged for the year ended March 31 as revenue from projects outside Japan declined.

The operating loss of 3.9 billion yen ($33 million) at the electronics maker’s energy solutions unit compares with profit of 32.4 billion yen a year earlier, according to an earnings statement released by the Osaka-based company Thursday. Sales fell 38 percent to 270.8 billion yen from 439 billion yen.

The drop in sales at the energy unit, previously known as the solar cells product group, was the biggest of any product group at Sharp for the fiscal year.

A difference of 54.7 billion yen was recognized between the contracted purchasing price and current market price of polysilicon for solar panels, the company said in a statement.

In the fourth quarter, sales at the unit totaled 74.2 billion yen and the operating loss was 2 billion yen.

Sharp has been undertaking a reorganization of its solar business. In February, it announced it will sell U.S. unit Recurrent Energy LLC to Canadian Solar Inc.

Profit Forecasts

Earlier, Sharp stopped making solar panels at plants in the U.S. and the U.K. Sharp also pulled out of its Italian solar venture, the company’s last panel-making plant overseas.

For the year, Sharp saw an impairment loss of 104 billion yen on a solar cell plant in Sakai and on liquid-crystal display plants, restructuring charges in Europe and elsewhere of 21.2 billion yen and a settlement of 14.3 billion yen on its solar cell business in Europe, the company said.

Sharp is projecting a profit of 5 billion yen for its energy solution unit for the year ending March 2016, President Kozo Takahashi said at a press conference. The company is aiming for 8 billion yen in profit for the year ending March 2018, he said.

“There is big potential for energy-related businesses while demand for industry-use solar in Japan is slowing down,” Takahashi said, adding that the company wants to expand solution businesses such as combining solar panels, storage batteries and energy management in Japan.

Sharp has been developing solar panels since 1959.

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