June 13, 2014 1:20 am JST

Sharp placing 30 billion yen bet on smaller LCD panels

TOKYO -- Sharp plans to invest as much as 30 billion yen ($291 million) to upgrade two of its Mie Prefecture plants during the current fiscal year, a move aimed at ramping up production capacity for small and midsize LCD panels used in smartphones and tablets by more than 10%.

     The Kameyama No. 2 plant will be outfitted with new equipment to mass-produce next-generation energy-efficient IGZO (indium-gallium-zinc oxide) panels at lower cost. And the Mie No. 3 plant, installed with advanced fabrication equipment, will churn out state-of-the-art panels with high pixel density.

     Sharp anticipates operating profit for the year ending March 2015 to surge to 100 billion yen, with the LCD business accounting for 55 billion yen. The unit posted an operating loss of more than 100 billion yen in fiscal 2012. The following fiscal year, it bounced back to 41.5 billion yen in the black, roughly half of which was derived from a technology transfer deal with a Chinese electronics manufacturer.

     The Japanese company aims to boost group operating profit for the LCD business by 30% this fiscal year.