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Sharp Doubles Loss Estimate

Tokyo — Citing declining sales of LCD TVs and panels, Sharp doubled its loss estimate for the year just ended, but said it expects savings to come by accelerating the opening schedule of its 10th-generation LCD panel plant, according to reports out of Japan.

The company also said it will try to lower the impact of fluctuations in foreign exchange rates by shifting some key components production overseas.

Sharp said it now expects an operating loss of $599 million, which will be its first annual operating loss and double its estimate from February.

Sharp said it believes panel demand is starting to recover, and it will move up the start of production at its new 10G plant in Sakai Japan by five months to October.

The $3.8 billion plant will produce larger glass substrates, increasing the efficiency of panel production while lowering costs, Sharp said. The new LCD plant is to have an initial capacity of 36,000 glass substrates a month, which will eventually double to 72,000 units.

Sharp is also scheduled to open a new thin-film solar cell plant in Japan in March 2010. The company said in November it will join Italy’s Enel in developing solar-power-generating plants in Italy by the end of 2012.