Sharp Returns To Black After Cost Cuts

TOKYO (AP) -- Sharp Corp. returned to profit last fiscal year as cost cuts offset lower sales.

Japan's top producer of liquid crystal displays said Tuesday it booked a net profit of 4.4 billion yen ($46.8 million) in the 12 months through March, following a 125.8 billion yen loss the previous year.

The global economy began recovering last year but business remained difficult, Osaka-based Sharp said in its earnings report.

To cope, it implemented major companywide cost cuts. It also strengthened its foothold in growth areas like solar cells and energy efficient products.

"Although fear of double dip recession is gradually fading away, we expect the business environment to remain unpredictable due to a harsh employment situation and soaring metal prices," said Sharp.

It posted an operating profit of 51.9 billion yen, while revenue fell 3 percent to 2.76 trillion yen.

Sharp has high hopes for 3-D in the full fiscal year through March 2011.

It expects net profit to surge 11-fold to 50 billion yen amid accelerating demand for its advanced 3-D displays. To meet orders, the company plans to double capacity at its LCD panel factory in Sakai, western Japan this summer.

The company forecasts revenue of 3.1 trillion yen and operating income of 120 billion yen.

In trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Sharp shares jumped 2 percent to 1,254 yen before earnings were announced. The rise outpaced the Nikkei 225 index's 0.4 percent rise.

Sharp reports earnings based on Japanese accounting standards.

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