Osaka, Japan - Sharp reported healthy growth in its audio-visual and communication equipment segment during the first six months of its fiscal year, with significant expansion in LCD color televisions as well as mobile phones with built-in CCD cameras. Sales reached $3 billion for the segment in the six months, a 7 percent increase over the $2.8 billion recorded in the year-ago period.
In the first half, ending Sept. 30, Sharp said its LCD color TVs, namely the Aquos series, turned in a "highly encouraging performance," with sales of $274.9 million, up 76.3 percent over the same period in 2001. Unit sales climbed 80 percent, to 360,000, exceeding forecasts made last April.
For the full year, Sharp is aiming for LCD color TV sales of $668.8 million, an 80 percent increase over the previous year, with 1 million in unit sales, 2.2 times the previous year's volume.
In the first six months, Sharp mobile phones equipped with a highly sensitive CCD camera "proved to be extremely popular," according to the company, with sales reaching $949.4 million, up 51.1 percent year-on-year. The company expects a 36.4 percent 12-month increase in sales of mobile phones year over year, hitting $1.8 billion.
The shift to color screens in mobile phones is moving faster than expected, noted Sharp, and continues to make steady progress. Worldwide, the company anticipates that the percentage of mobile phones equipped with color screens will rise from the 12 percent level last year to about 25 percent this year.
Despite a less-than-promising global economic outlook, Sharp is aiming to boost worldwide sales of LCD televisions with the introduction of 37-inch models and a new line that features the ability to capture video images onto a PC memory card. Sharp also is introducing high-value-added mobile phone models in its efforts to increase sales in the United States and elsewhere.
Sales in the Americas in the first six months were flat at $1.3 billion. Operating income in the Americas during the first half hit $20.4 million, down from the $23.7 million reported in the same six months last year.
Consolidated net sales at Sharp for the fiscal year's first half climbed 7.8 percent, hitting $7.9 billion, up from $7.4 billion in the year-ago period. Operating income for the six months increased 9.6 percent, to $398.9 million, compared with $363.8 million in the same period in 2001.
Net income soared 40.5 percent, reaching $186.8 million in the first half, up from $133 million year over year. Net income for the six months includes $64.4 million in extraordinary profits and $40.8 million in extraordinary losses.
Looking ahead, Sharp anticipates $16.3 billion in consolidated sales for the 12 months ending March 31, 2003, up 10.9 percent from the previous year. It anticipates operating income of $734.2 million, an increase of 22.3 percent year-on-year, and net income of $301.8 million, up 330 percent, compared with the previous 12 months.
The company expects its capital investment for the year to rise to $1.2 billion, an increase of 11.4 percent over the previous 12 months.