OSAKA, Japan Jan 7 Sharp Corp had a
better-than-expected operating profit for October-December, its
top executive said on Monday, as the struggling Japanese
consumer electronics giant scrambles to generate profits in the
hopes of securing fresh financing.
The maker of Aquos brand TVs is projecting an operating
profit in the October-March second half of its business year.
That would unlock additional funds from banks, after the company
won a $4.4 billion bailout from its lenders in October.
Sharp warned in November that it might not be able to
survive on its own after doubling its full-year net loss
forecast to $5.6 billion.
The October-December operating profit was bigger than
planned, thanks mostly to higher revenue from large household
appliances and a slight pickup in LCD TV sales, Sharp's
president Takashi Okuda told a group of reporters in Osaka.
Sharp posted an operating loss of 24.5 billion yen ($278
million) in October-December 2011.
Okuda's comments came after the trading close on Monday.
Sharp ended 4.4 percent lower, versus an 0.8 percent loss in the
benchmark Nikkei average.
Sharp shares lost more than half their value in the 2012
calendar year, against a 23 percent rise in the Nikkei index.
Okuda also said the consumer electronics maker was still in
talks with Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd
on getting a capital investment.
Sharp has been in discussions for months with Hon Hai to
make the Taiwanese company its biggest shareholder. Talks,
however, stalled after Hon Hai said it expected a say in Sharp's
management in return for its investment.
The maker of a slew of electronics products and their
components may also sell its TV assembly plant in Mexico to Hon
Hai, although talks to sell the Taiwanese company another
factory in China have frozen, a source familiar with the matter
told Reuters in December.
In December, Qualcomm Inc agreed to invest as much
as $120 million in Sharp, giving it a boost in its effort to
remain viable. As part of the agreement Qualcomm, through its
Pixtronix subsidiary, will work with Sharp - which supplies
screens to Apple Inc for its latest iPhone - to develop
new power-saving screens based on Sharp's IGZO technology.
Qualcomm made an initial investment of 4.93 billion yen at
the end of December in a private placement of stock, giving the
U.S. company a 2.64 percent stake after dilution. The timing and
amount of the remaining investment will be conditional on Sharp
returning to profit.