Sharp back in black, posts 69% boost in solar cell sales

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Citing a more robust domestic economy and moderate growth in the United States and China, Japanese electronics giant Sharp posted an 18% boost in sales to JPY 2.93 trillion (US$28.6 billion) and was back in the black with a net profit of JPY 11.56 billion ($113 million).

In addition to the production and sales of high-definition TVs, smartphones and other mobile devices, Sharp said it had also worked to strengthen sales of solar cells, mainly for Japan’s booming domestic market.

Sales of solar cells rose 68.9% to JPY 439 billion ($4.3 billion) due mainly to growing demand from Japan’s growing residential market as well as industrial use in mega-solar power generation projects.

Looking forward to its current fiscal year, the company said it expected the Japanese economy to pick up, with improvement in corporate earnings, household income and the employment situation, supported by various economic measures, while pointing out that personal consumption was temporarily slowing down due to backlash from last-minute demand before a consumption tax hike.

“The overseas business environment is expected to show mild recovery. However, we anticipate the situation will remain unpredictable, with some risk factors, including the pullback of U.S. quantitative easing and a slowdown in the growth in China and emerging countries, and a geopolitical risk in Ukraine.”

In order to deal with such a business environment, Sharp said it would work to create "innovative products and services that meet our customers’ needs," adding that it aimed to shift its solar cell business to an energy solution business.

Although Sharp’s solar cell division has benefited from booming demand in Japan, its PV panel business in the U.K. suffered in the difficult European market, forcing the company to shut down production operations at its factory in Wrexham, Wales, last year.