* Op profit for Oct-Dec qtr hits 47.6 bln yen vs 35.42 bln
* Full-year op profit fcast for year to March 31 is 100
* Investors wary with shares up only 4.6 pct since start of
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TOKYO, Feb 4 Sharp Corp lifted its
full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday after receiving strong
orders from Chinese makers for smartphone panels, putting it on
firmer footing to secure the full-year net profit it needs as a
condition for a $4.6 billion bank rescue.
Japan's largest display maker raised its full-year operating
forecast for the year to March 31 to 100 billion yen ($988
million), up from a previous forecast of 80 billion yen,
although it left its net profit forecast unchanged at 5 billion
The net forecast compares with expectations of 8.82 billion
yen, the average of the most accurate analysts' expectations
according to Thomson Reuters Starmine.
The company, which also makes solar cells and TVs, cited
strong orders for its small to midsize panels used in
smartphones and tablets as it reported a 5.8 percent rise in
operating profit for the October-December quarter to 47.6
billion yen, exceeding expectations of 35.42 billion yen,
according to the average of five analyst estimates on Thomson
Sharp, which racked up a net loss of 545 billion yen in the
year through March 2013, has been trying to diversify its client
base away from Apple Inc, which it supplies with small
and mid-size panels for the iPhone and iPad.
The company said it had achieved high run rates at its
display plants in Japan during the last quarter - a key
operating target in its recovery efforts - and managed to boost
the proportion of small to midsize panels at its Kameyama 2
factory in Japan to 30 percent of capacity as it shifts away
from larger panels used in the struggling TV sector.
The company also managed to boost its equity ratio to 13.1
percent at end-December from 6.4 percent at end-September, as it
shores up its tattered finances.
Sharp boosted its equity ratio to 13.1 percent at the end of
December from 6.4 percent at the end of September.
The company posted its first quarterly net profit in two
years for the July-September quarter, defying widespread
expectations of a loss. It cited a weaker yen and the strength
of solar cell sales in addition to its display panel business.
While Sharp has managed to bolster its display operations
with orders from up-and-coming Chinese producers, doubts linger
over its growth prospects.
Its shares, which fell 8.4 percent on Tuesday to 317 yen
before the earnings announcement, have risen only 4.6 percent
since the start of last year, compared with a more than doubling
of shares in Panasonic Corp, another Japanese
electronics giant in the midst of restructuring, and a 35
percent rise in Japan's benchmark Nikkei average.
(Reporting by Sophie Knight and Edmund Klamann; Editing by Matt