Sharp's first-quarter operating profit soars 45 percent on core display unit's strength

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Sharp Corp is pictured at the CEATEC JAPAN 2017 (Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies) at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan, October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sharp Corp 6753.T reported on Tuesday a 45 percent rise in first-quarter operating profit, beating analysts' estimates on soaring profit at its core display business and strong sales of camera modules and sensors.

The Osaka-based company, a supplier to Apple Inc AAPL.O, said its operating profit was 24.8 billion yen ($223 million) for the April-June period, compared with 17.11 billion yen a year earlier. Seven analysts on average expected operating profit of 18.8 billion yen, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.

Operating profit at its flagship display business grew 55.6 percent to 10.5 billion yen, with revenue at its electronic devices segment increasing 33.6 percent to 111.2 billion yen from a year earlier.

Sharp's solid profit contrasts with bigger rival LG Display's 034220.KS poor earnings and downbeat forecast. LG, a key Apple supplier, reported a second consecutive quarterly loss on sagging panel prices and slashed investment plans by $2.7 billion, citing concern for the global smartphone market.

The performance cemented Sharp's recovery under the ownership of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn) 2317.TW.

Still, investors have remained wary about long-term prospects for Sharp, which is finding the going tough against Asian rivals.

Sharp and Japan Display Inc 6740.T have struggled to respond to smartphone makers' shift to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, letting South Korean rivals Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 005930.KS and LG Display take the lead.

Another Apple supplier, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) 2330.TW, also scaled back its revenue and investment estimates earlier this month.

Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman