Wed, Jul 30, 2003 - Page 11 News List

LCD TVs help Sharp's Q1 profits rise by 14 percent

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Sharp Corp, Japan's largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, said fiscal first-quarter profit rose 14 percent, helped by stronger sales of its Aquos televisions, cellular phones with built-in cameras and components.

Group net income rose to Japanese Yen 14 billion (US$117 million), or Japanese Yen 12.74 a share, in the three months ended June 30 from Japanese Yen 12.3 billion, or Japanese Yen 11.03, a year ago, the Osaka-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 7.2 percent to Japanese Yen 511.7 billion.

The surge in profit highlights the boost Sharp has received as consumers turn away from bulky cathode-ray televisions to slimmer flat-screen models and as built-in cameras lead phone sales.

The company's ability to continue to prosper will depend on fending off challenges from South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co and Quanta Display Inc (廣輝電子), analysts say.

"Sharp's earnings show that it has an edge in really good products," said Nobuaki Murayama, who helps manage the equivalent of US$514 million in Japanese equities and doesn't own Sharp shares.

Still, "Samsung and Sharp's Taiwanese rivals may catch up in terms of technology so it's not risk free." he said.

Flat-panel televisions are one of Sharp's main growth drivers. Industrywide shipments in Japan rose 31.1 percent in May, following a 61.2 percent gain in April, according to the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association.

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