Sharp's op profit jumps 55 pct on demand for smartphone panels

TOKYO Fri Aug 1, 2014 2:22am EDT

TOKYO Aug 1 (Reuters) - Japan's Sharp Corp posted a 55 percent increase in operating profit for the April-June quarter, beating its own guidance to break even.

The company reported strong demand for its LCD panels and a lighter-than-expected impact from a hike in consumption taxes in Japan.

The company posted an overall operating profit of 4.67 billion yen ($45.38 million), falling slightly short of expectations of 5.21 billion yen which was the average of seven analyst estimates according to Thomson Reuters Starmine.

Sharp, which makes the panels for Apple Inc's smartphone screens, said it earned an operating profit of 2.1 billion yen on its LCD panels after posting a 9.5 billion yen loss on the unit in the same quarter last year.

Sources have said that Sharp is already producing panels for the 4.7 inch iPhone 6, due to be released around September. LCDs accounted for 33.3 percent of Sharp's sales in the first quarter, rough the same proportion for the last fiscal year.

Sharp's share price dropped 0.6 percent ahead of the earnings release, in line with the same percentage fall in the benchmark Nikkei index.

($1 = 102.91 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Sophie Knight; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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