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Sharp’s Q4 CE Sales Up 4.1 Percent

Osaka, Japan — Although sales in the audio/visual and communications segment at Sharp increased 4.1 percent in the company’s fiscal third quarter, hitting $2.1 billion, from $2 billion a year earlier, this consumer electronics segment saw operating income edge upward only 1.6 percent in the three months year-over-year.

CE segment operating income for the third quarter reached $94.3 million, up from $92.8 million in the year-ago period.

The relatively small profit increase was registered despite fast increasing sales of LCD televisions and camera phones. The company said drops in prices and shipments of non-digital products, such as tube televisions and VCRs, contributed to the small income rise.

Sales of LCDs for the third quarter, ended Dec. 31, climbed 39.8 percent, to $1.1 billion, from $760.6 million year-on-year. Operating income for LCDs increased 37.8 percent, to $78.5 million, from $57 million in the same three months in 2002.

For the nine months, sales in Sharp’s audio/visual and communication equipment segment increased 9.8 percent, to $5.9 billion, from $5.4 billion the previous year. Operating income for this CE segment rose 13.8 percent, hitting $212.8 million, up from $187.1 million in the same period a year ago.

LCD sales in the nine months reached $2.9 billion, up 20.9 percent, when compared with the $2.4 billion reported a year earlier. Operating income for LCDs in the nine months rose 13.8 percent, to $255.1 million, up from $224.2 million year-over-year.

Pricing for both small and large LCD screens remained healthy in the third quarter, while demand for LCD products, as well as mobile phones with high-resolution color LCD panels, remained strong.

Consumer interest in these digital products helped Sharp’s consolidated third quarter sales climb 10.3 percent, to $5.5 billion, from $5 billion. Net income rose 27.2 percent, to $167.7 million, from $131.9 million.

For the nine months, consolidated sales jumped 11.8 percent, reaching $15.8 billion, up from $14.1 billion year-on-year. Net income came in at $431.6 million, a 24 percent hike over the $348.1 million recorded in the same three months a year earlier.