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Sharp Loses $1.3 Billion As Gadget Sales Dive

Japanese electronics maker suffered an annual net loss of $1.3 billion, its first yearly red ink in nearly six decades, due to declining demand and increasing competition.

TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. suffered an annual net loss of 125.8 billion yen ($1.3 billion), its first yearly red ink in nearly six decades, due to declining demand and increasing competition amid a global economic slump.

Sharp's loss, reported Monday, was worse than the 100 billion yen loss it had projected in February, and a sharp drop from the 101.9 billion yen profit it earned the year before.

The maker of the Aquos line of liquid crystal display televisions said revenue for the fiscal year ended March fell to 2.85 trillion yen ($29.5 billion) from 3.42 trillion yen.

Before announcing its projected loss in February, the Osaka-based company had been forecasting a 60 billion yen profit.

Sharp said the business environment for the current fiscal year that began April would remain uncertain, and projected a net profit of 3 billion yen ($31.0 million) on revenues of 2.76 trillion yen ($28.4 billion).

The company did not disclose results for the January-March quarter.

Sharp was struck by a bigger-than-anticipated loss "because of faltering consumption, harsh price competition and inventory cutbacks," it said in a statement.

Sales of televisions and other audio visual equipment, as well as mobile phones, declined due to the strong yen as well as price cuts amid intensifying competition, Sharp said.

Sales of other electronics devices declined nearly 30 percent from a year earlier.

Japanese electronics makers, including Sharp's bigger rivals like Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp., have been also battered by the strong yen, which reduces overseas profits, as well as by the plunging prices of consumer electronics products.

Sharp has said it would cut 1,500 contract workers in Japan by the end of March, while its directors will forgo bonus pay in June and accept pay cuts of up to 50 percent. It has reduced panel production for mobile phones in response to the slowdown.

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