¥10 billion loss Sharp’s first red ink

Kyodo

Sharp Corp. is likely to incur a group operating loss of around ¥10 billion for the 2008 business year, falling into the red for the first time since it was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1956, company sources said Wednesday.

The Osaka-based consumer electronics maker had expected a ¥130 billion consolidated operating profit for the business year through March 31.

The downgrade is due largely to struggles in its liquid crystal display television operations owing to the global economic slump, as well as mounting restructuring costs, the sources said.

Sharp is likely to incur a ¥100 billion net loss, compared with an earlier estimated ¥60 billion profit, the sources said.

It is expected to announce a new earnings forecast Friday when it reports its April-December results.

Sharp’s mainstay LCD TV business has been hard hit by sluggish demand and plummeting prices. Falling demand for LCD panels as well as the yen’s steep appreciation also weighed on its earnings.