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Sharp's bottom line hits 10-year high on Foxconn-led overhaul

Brisk sales of LCDs fuel earnings recovery

Sharp Executive Vice President Katsuaki Nomura discusses earnings Friday in Chiba, Japan.

OSAKA -- Sharp turned in its biggest interim net profit in a decade on Friday, underscoring the extent of the turnaround under Taiwanese parent Foxconn.

The Japan-based technology group reported 34.7 billion yen ($304 million) in consolidated net profit during the first half ended September, a stark improvement over the 45.4 billion net loss recorded in the year-earlier period. The black ink last scaled this height in 2007, before the global financial crisis.

The bottom line trounced Sharp's projection by nearly 10 billion yen. The company also upgraded its full-year profit outlook by precisely that amount to 69 billion yen. Fiscal 2016 had a net loss of 24.8 billion yen.   

Foxconn, the contract manufacturer officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, agreed to acquire Sharp last year and installed its second-in-command, Tai Jeng-wu, as president. Tai has since spearheaded a hard-charging restructure that has produced four straight quarters of black ink through September.

First-half sales jumped 21% on the year to 1.11 trillion yen thanks to the core liquid crystal display business. Sales at the LCD segment soared 46%, which lifted overall earnings. Demand surged for LCD panels for tablets, and LCD televisions performed well in China and Europe.

Sharp completely reversed pretax earnings to a 41.1 billion yen profit, up from a 32 billion yen loss a year earlier. In the first half of fiscal 2016, Sharp booked equity-method losses of 19.1 billion yen. There was no such charge in the just-ended half since earnings have bounced back at Sakai Display Products, its joint venture with Foxconn.

"We plan to maintain our expansion of earnings, and we will progress with improvements so that the profit margin will exceed that of the first half," Katsuaki Nomura, executive vice president at Sharp, told reporters Friday.


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