* Sharp to raise 148.9 bln yen in public offering
* Seeks 17.5 bln yen in 3rd-party offer
* Sales forecast raised, loss forecast narrowed
* Steps mark progress in Sharp’s turnaround
By Nobuhiro Kubo
TOKYO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Japan’s Sharp Corp said on Wednesday it will raise nearly $1.7 billion in share sales, marking a step forward in the TV and display maker’s turnaround.
The company also raised its business forecasts as a reviving stock market aided its revival.
The supplier of panels for Apple Inc’s smartphones, is clawing its way back to health after receiving a 360 billion yen ($3.62 billion) rescue from creditor banks last year. It has since received investments from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Qualcomm Inc.
Osaka-based Sharp said it will sell up to 148.9 billion yen ($1.50 billion) worth of shares to the public and raise 17.5 billion yen ($176.15 million) through third-party placements to partner firms Lixil Group, Makita Corp and Denso Corp.
The capital injection, which will help Sharp repay debt, is in line with what people familiar with the moves told Reuters on Sept. 12. One source said the fund-raising will tide the company over through the March end of the business year.
The company last year posted a 545 billion yen net loss, which pushed its capital below 6 percent of equity, well short of the 20 percent ratio widely seen as a financial-stability threshold for manufacturers.
Sharp raised its business forecasts for the half year through Sept. 30, doubling its operating-profit forecast to 30 billion yen. It halved its net-loss projection to 10 billion.
The company now expects to lose 8.52 yen a share for the six months, narrowing the prior forecast of a loss of 17.15 yen a share. Sales are forecast at 1.31 trillion yen a share, up from 1.27 trillion yen previously.
The mobile-phone business has underperformed, but such areas as smartphones, tablet devices and solar batteries have beaten expectations, Sharp said in a statement announcing the revisions.